Diabetes And Your Rights In The Workplace


If you have diabetes and have been having problems with your employer making accommodations or being threatened with termination, realize that you have rights. According to the American with Disabilities Act, a disability is something that impairs a major life function. In this case, diabetes affects the endocrine system, a major life function. This means that employers have restrictions on how they treat you when you have diabetes.

Your rights while when first hired:

Disclosing that you have diabetes on a job application or interview is voluntary and an employer may not ask questions about it at that time. If you are offered the job, you may choose to disclose your condition in order for the employer to make accommodations. If you disclose your condition, your new employer may ask you questions about it, require you to submit documentation or go through a physical exam. However, the employer can not withdraw the offer of employment if you are proven to be otherwise qualified and able to do the job.

Your rights while you're working:

Employers are required to make changes to your working conditions to reasonably accommodate your diabetes once you have asked for them. This includes allowing you to take breaks to check your blood sugar or eat something. Accommodations can also include those for diabetes-related complications, such as diabetic neuropathy. An example of a reasonable accommodation for that condition would be allowing you to sit due to the nerve problems in the feet that this condition causes. Other conditions, such as diabetic retinopathy, may need other accommodations, such as a larger computer screen. You are also allowed to take time off for diabetes-related doctor's appointments.

Your employer's rights:

Your employer also has rights in regards to your diabetes and accommodations. Employers are allowed to ask about diabetes if they see evidence of the condition causing problems with your work performance or there is a safety issue. Employers may require an employee to have a medical examination and show documentation that they are able to do the assigned job. Employers are also allowed to ask for documentation if you ask for accommodations and there's no sign of you having the condition. Only documentation directly related to diabetes and the accommodations is required. They do not need to know the details of your tests.

If you are able to do the job with minimal accommodations and feel you are being discriminated because of your diabetes, contact an attorney who specializes in employment law. These lawyers are experts who can determine whether or not your employer is within his or her rights.

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