I exposed my chest at work as proof I had breast cancer after boss and coworker were spreading rumors that I didn’t actually have cancer. Arkansas


I had breast cancer about a year and a half ago. I got surgery and took FMLA. Luckily I didn’t have to undergo chemo or radiation. Surgery was able to remove all my tumors. I still have check ups and screenings occasionally and have to miss work. Another coworker in another department has breast cancer but unfortunately was unable to hand it removed by only surgery and had to be out longer. She is still undergoing treatment.

I declined reconstruction on my breasts so I was able to come back to work at 3 1/2 weeks. My FMLA is intermittent. I do take it occasionally for those check ups and screenings because I am at high risk of it returning.

I have no breast on my left side (just a flat scar – no breast tissue) and I have no nipple and only a smaller amount of breast tissue on my right side (they removed a lot of breast tissue with a lumpectomy but were able to salvage about 55% of the breast tissue). I have no nipples.

I did something very dumb because I am a very dumb person.

My coworkers and my immediate supervisor have been talking about my breast cancer for weeks because I had to miss an important meeting for a breast MRI and a bone scan. I requested off. Got my manager and HR to approve it. Converted under my FMLA signed by my oncologist.

They have been spreading rumors that because I came back to work so soon that I didn’t have breast cancer. I wear a prosthetic at work so no one sees me flat. They are saying everyone they know with any cancer always has to take a lot of time off work and I seem fine.

They (coworkers and supervisor , not my manager or HR) are saying I am abusing FMLA.

Someone said they saw me out at the store (after an oncology appointment that was approved by my manager I did stop by the grocery store on my way home) and I looked fine. Again I am not on chemo so my appointments are check ups and blood draws. I feel fine after. They are emotionally draining but physical I feel great.

It got to the point where I was scared to even take appointments because I knew coming back to work would be the worst. Again, my manager has always been supportive and HR too. This is just my supervisor and my coworkers.

I have a surgery coming up to help with some scarring. They are just going to clean up some of the tissue now that everything has healed and I have been cancer free for over a year. I let my supervisor know they are thinking about scheduling it for the summer and he said “right the cancer thing again”.

One particular day last week, I got upset because I heard them in the office next door talking about me. They were saying I was scamming everyone and that I didn’t deserve the upcoming raises. About how I didn’t have cancer. I got upset and I walked over and I lifted my shirt and prosthetic bra and showed them the scars on my chest. I did cover my remaining 55% there breast with no nipple with my hand but my scars were on display for all to see.

I then told them to go fuck themselves and went back to my desk. This was on Friday at 3:30 pm. I left at 4:30 like I always do. No one has said anything. It is now Monday and I am worried. I had time to think over the weekend and realized it was a huge mistake. I should have just gone to HR about the gossip.

I have seen my manager but they haven’t said anything. My supervisor hasn’t said anything. None of my gossiping coworkers have said anything. The ones that don’t gossip haven’t said anything and are acting like normal.

What should I do to un-mess this up? What can I expect them to do to me legally? Could the coworkers I exposed my chest to call the police? My husband said they likely could but probably wouldn’t. Do I get a lawyer now and ask his advice? Would I hurt myself more by going to my manager and HR and saying “ I messed up”? I am so worried and confused. Any legal advice would be appreciate. I image if they did fire me something like this would keep me from unemployment right? I know they can legally fire me for any non protected reason and this isn’t protected.


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