Diabetes in the Workplace: Know Your Rights
You may have not heard much about the discrimination in the workplace toward individuals with diabetes- unless you have diabetes or someone you love has diabetes. Then you – or your loved one – may have actually been discriminated against for this very reason. If you feel that you have been discriminated against you need to know there are laws that protect against this kind of discrimination and it is very important that you know exactly what your rights are.
The Americans with Disabilities Act serves this very purpose. It protects employees from being discriminated against because of any disability they may have. Because diabetes is considered to be a disability your employer cannot use your disability against you in any way, shape, or form.
Here are some of the ways people with diabetes have been discriminated against:
- They have not been hired because of their condition.
- They have actually been fired due to their condition.
- Their salary has been affected.
- They have not received promotions because of it.
- They have been unjustly disciplined.
- They have been denied benefits.
When employers do the things listed about they are actually breaking the law and should face legal consequences. Now, keep in mind that if you have diabetes it is your prerogative if you want to disclose the fact that you are diabetic or not. The laws of protection only apply if your employer is aware that you have diabetes.
You have the right to reveal your diabetes to your employer and if you need any reasonable modifications made to help you at work then your employer has to - by law - accommodate you as long as these modifications will not bring forth an undue hardship on the employer.
Some of the things that a diabetic may ask their employer for would be the following: To have frequent, short breaks so they can do a blood sugar test or eat a small snack to regulate sugar levels. They may also ask their employer if they can actually consume these snacks while they are working, without the break. Another thing might be modifying your work schedule so that you do not have to miss any doctor's appointments.
These requests are more than reasonable to request. They are not too difficult and they are not costly so your employer should be able to honor them.
If you believe that you have been discriminated against by your employer then you should document everything and bring it before your employer and explain yourself to them. This very well could resolve the problem but if it does not then it might be a good time to seek the advice of a lawyer that specializes in workplace discrimination. The one thing you should not do is let it continue to go on unreported. You have rights – know them and exercise them.
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