Derby

Terminally ill Jacci Woodcock face of Dying to Work campaign

Jacci Woodcock Image copyright Dickon Clark
Image caption Jacci Woodcock has terminal breast cancer but is fighting to improve workers' rights

A terminally ill woman's campaign to change employment law will be "looked at closely", the prime minister said.

Jacci Woodcock, from Derbyshire, claimed her former employer, which cannot be named for legal reasons, tried to force her out when she was diagnosed with cancer.

She has now become the face of the Dying to Work campaign to give terminally ill staff more protection.

Ms Woodcock said she wanted a change in the law to be her legacy.

Image copyright TUC
Image caption The TUC campaign Dying To Work aims to change the law

The regional sales manager, from Milford, near Belper, first recovered from breast cancer in 2000 but it returned in 2012, when the diagnosis and she was at that stage given 12 months to live.

But she claimed her employer provided no support and tried to get her sacked.

"The more work did things to me they shouldn't have done, the more determined I was. I then saw the law was not protecting vulnerable people like me," she said.

"Quite early on I made up my mind this [campaign] is what I've got to do.

"I personally needed the dignity because to me, if I didn't go to work, I was just waiting to die."

Image caption Conservative MP for Mid Derbyshire Pauline Latham raised Jacci Woodcock's case in Parliament

After reaching a confidential settlement she got involved with the Dying to Work campaign, which was raised at this week's Prime Minister's Questions by her MP Pauline Latham.

David Cameron promised to "look very carefully" at the case.

"In all of these things, as well as having clear rules you also need organisations... to act with genuine compassion and to think of the person at the other end of the telephone," he told the House of Commons.

Lee Barron, regional secretary of the TUC, said: "What we want is change in legislation. If you are pregnant you can't be dismissed whilst at work for being pregnant.

"What we are seeking is the same for somebody who has a terminal illness."

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