West Norfolk bus driver claims Stagecoach fired her for having cancer

West Norfolk bus driver claims Stagecoach fired her for having cancer
West Norfolk bus driver claims Stagecoach fired her for having cancer

A woman from Fairstead who worked as a bus driver for Stagecoach claims she has been fired for having cancer.

Gemma Forder, 33, who has Gorlin syndrome, a rare condition in which many people develop a type of skin cancer, received a letter earlier this month which terminated her employment with the company.

Stagecoach claim they were unaware Ms Forder is suffering with cancer but the Lynn News has seen documentation which suggests managers were aware she has skin cancer caused by Gorlin syndrome.

The company said Ms Forder was dismissed for failing to attend a “formal meeting to discuss her prolonged absence” after she was signed off in June for a bad back.

Operation manager for Stagecoach in Norfolk, Kevin Sharp, who signed Ms Forder’s letter of termination, said: “Gemma was signed off from work in June with a bad back.

“Over the course of the next few months, she was invited to several care and concern meetings to discuss her condition and to offer support, but we didn’t hear back from her and she didn’t attend any of these meetings.

“After more than three months off work, during which time she didn’t make contact with any of our managers, Gemma was invited to attend a formal meeting to discuss her prolonged absence.

“At this point, we did hear from her and the meeting was re-scheduled several times at her request.

“She was offered the option of meeting up at an alternative location of her own choosing, but said she would prefer to meet at my office and then yet again didn’t attend.

“Gemma was finally dismissed in her absence and informed by letter.

“She failed to keep in contact during her long-term absence and gave no indication of a possible return date.

“Her union rep, who was at the final meeting that she did not attend, was in agreement with the company position.

“If she had informed us she was suffering with cancer, if she had even made contact or attended one of the meetings, she would still be employed, and we would be offering her any reasonable support required.”

Ms Forder said she was not aware that she has been invited to attend any meetings and claims she “did not receive any letters or emails about the meetings or them being re-scheduled”.

She continued to claim her letter of termination was sent to her parents’ house and did not understand why it was not sent to her house directly.

She said: “For a company who claim their employees are their first priority, they don’t treat their staff well or seem to even care about their staff.

“This letter was sent to my mum’s house and I don’t even know how they got my mum’s address. In the letter, they say I was fired for not attending meetings, but I didn’t even know about these meetings.

“Why would I lie about having cancer? They have sent me for referrals and I have three different doctors’ letters saying I have skin cancer from Gorlin syndrome.

“They are asking people to pick a meeting over their health and go to a meeting rather than have their chemo.”