Pride and Prejudice in The Spa Industry

Skin care service in the spa for client undergoing active cancer treatment

Hiring Discrimination in The Spa Industry Against Cancer Survivors

(YorkPedia Editorial):- Chicago, Oct 8, 2019 ( – With over 20 years of experience in the beauty industry, including esthetician work and oncology training, Leslie Syron shouldn’t have had any trouble getting a job in the spa industry. However, her status as a cancer survivor left her open to hiring discrimination by spa managers.

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Leslie Syron was 47 years old when a routine mammogram revealed she had Stage Three breast cancer. Leslie underwent chemotherapy, radiation, and a double mastectomy. She fought for her life, and she won. 

She had once had her own studio, but given the physical and financial strain of cancer, she was forced to give it up. Now cancer-free, she was eager to return to her passion, which was working in the spa industry.

Leslie was confronted with odd questions during her job interviews. She had written an article for an industry magazine about her diagnosis, and now, it seemed to be the only thing her potential employers cared to ask her about. 

These interviews didn’t revolve around Leslie’s skill and decades of experience. They consisted of questions such as “do you still have a lot of doctors appointments?” and “are you done with all your cancer stuff?”.

They were paranoid about hiring someone who had once been sick, despite her admirable fight and recovery. Once Leslie realized what was happening, she needed to understand if this discrimination was legal or not.  

According to the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against someone for the cancer history, so long as they are qualified for their position. Unfortunately, employers with under 15 employees don’t have to adhere to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Additionally, only businesses that receive money or contracts from the government have to adhere to the Federal Rehabilitation Act. 

With the laws protecting cancer survivors being so weak and easy to subvert, skilled workers such as Leslie Syron can be discriminated against. The University of Rochester Medical Center’s Health Encyclopedia explains that while many employers will treat cancer survivors in accordance with the law, and with respect, many who are misinformed about cancer will enact personnel policies that don’t treat survivors fairly.



October is breast cancer awareness month. Many of these same spas will proudly display their pink ribbons in support and yet won’t hire the breast cancer survivors for whom they rightly claim to be warriors. When a person–particularly one in authority–tells a cancer survivor that they can’t do something, they are inflicting psychological damage on another human being. Cancer survivors are regularly, and legally, discriminated against. This practice must end.

Oncology Training International (OTI)

This Press Release was originally published by IssueWire. Read the original article here.

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