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Disability at work: “I preferred not to hide anything, I didn’t want to lie about the origin of my absences”


In her Grand Optical store in Saint-Etienne, Stéphanie Muguet, 45, advises her customers with enthusiasm. No one would suspect the synovialosarcoma that cost him a buttock muscle in 2014, nor the recurrences in the lungs limiting his breathing capacity. But she never made a secret of it. “After reflection, I preferred not to hide anything from the start. I held a position of director and I did not want to lie about the origin of my absences. »

His choice is part of the movement of coming out of big bosses, like very recently that of Arthur Sadoun, director of Publicis, communicating on his throat cancer. In the process, at the last summit in Davos, the group’s foundation announced the launch of the Working With Cancer platform, inviting all companies to join the movement in order to allow the employees concerned not to fear stagnation or loss. their jobs.

For Stéphanie, transparency paid off: “My management supported me well. As I could no longer fully assume management, I switched to a position of simple optician, but I do not see it as a demotion. It’s less stressful, I’ve had an adapted wheelchair as well as a space to rest and I’m doing my job well. I even have time to get involved as a volunteer with the League Against Cancer. »

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Disability at work: talk about it or not?

The reality is not always so exciting and reassuring on a professional level. Leila Abes (name changed), 47, Thus sight dismissed for incapacity while suffering from severe depression following breast cancer. “I was a nursing assistant in a large Picard care group at the start of my illness, and my informed employer supported me well. It was by joining a competing group that things went wrong. I didn’t mention my cancer when I was hired, I was posted to a palliative care unit, very anxiety-provoking, and I developed depression. »

“What cannot be seen does not exist! »

Leila Abes ended up revealing everything to her executive who informed the director. This one listened to her well… but had nothing to offer her and pushed her towards the exit. “The company was big enough to offer alternatives”, she assures. The caregiver preferred to reorient herself and, after having followed the support program “Let’s boost the talents” of the APF France handicap, she completed a training to embark on professional integration advice.

The same outcome for Mathilde Bijok, a 38-year-old engineer, after a fourteen-year career in an industrial SME in Lille. “I joined the structure three years after the announcement of my multiple sclerosis. I was 23 then, and I was not ready to talk about my illness. » The young woman then discreetly compensated for her symptoms (visual disturbances, pain, fatigue, etc.) by taking it upon herself, or by delegating certain tasks, and took close colleagues into her confidence. But the latest push has forced her to ask for part-time therapy and recognition of the status of disabled worker (RQTH).

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