diabetes and work

By allen405 Latest Reply 2015-08-23 03:59:16 -0500
Started 2014-02-08 13:46:58 -0600

I just recently got let go from my job, on friday as a matter of fact. I'm not really upset about it too much , but one of the reasons was attendance, and the the only thing I can come up with is doctor visits due to diabetes because I'm always there other than that. I got three of them in the next couple days.

One thing I want to ask is, how do you handle telling a future boss about it? Would you tell them in a interview or after your hired? I'm an honest person who doesn't like to hide things from my perspective employer. I have been to a lot of interviews and have heard nothing back. or the usual "we decided to go with someone else". I really think a lot of employers discriminate because they are ignorant or to much of a liability.

27 replies

penfb 2015-08-23 03:59:16 -0500 Report

I've been diabetic type 1 for 22 years and I can count with one hand the times I told my employer. I work in hospitality and when I did let let know on the interview I never got the job so I stop telling and I have a very successful career. It does affect my levels though. People are ignorant they will never employ me. Shame but true

allen405 2014-02-16 21:50:52 -0600 Report

I appreciate all the great replies. I think it's sad that a person has to be like that just to get a job. I am still pounding the pavement looking for work trying to stay positive.

Stuart1966 2014-02-13 17:43:50 -0600 Report

NOTHING. Tell nobody anything until AFTER you are hired.
Done any other way and you will run into bias, and discrimination whether it is legal or not…

Catherine Robare
Catherine Robare 2014-02-12 21:47:01 -0600 Report

I agree, yes, they can't let you go for medical reasons, but unfortunately they don't HAVE to have any reason. I've been in this situation before . It's underhanded , but they will "find" a reason. I have had a supervisor actually lie! I told the unemployment people this & they were unimpressed. You have to prove they lied !???

beatingtype1 2014-02-11 16:35:11 -0600 Report

If you live in the US you actually have protection and can get your old job back. What they did was discrimination. Under the ADA section 504 and Family medical leave at you have a right to attend doctors appointments. They cannot fire you for that.

Your next step is to contact the American Diabetes Association to get a legal advocate. They can help you more!

Jan8 2014-02-11 13:21:02 -0600 Report

You don't need them. Not with their attitude ! I'm really sorry you were let go allen. It's discrimination. Dr. Gary has some very good advice.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-02-10 18:05:11 -0600 Report

Hey allen,

So sorry to hear this happened, my friend.

I see you have received some helpful posts from other members who have experience in dealing with their diabetes in the workplace. It is also my understanding that you are not required to provide this information when you interview for a job. It's not a matter of hiding. An employer is not allowed to ask and therefore you are not required to tell them. And yes, potential employers can be biased against individuals they feel may have to take time away from work.

We all have to take care of our health and things come up that require us to take time off to get to the doctor's office.

Take good care of yourself. And best wishes to you as you get your job hunt underway. Please keep us posted!


I wi

Silicone eyes
Silicone eyes 2014-02-10 11:20:09 -0600 Report

Also, if you work at a place with enough employees to have FMLA, that can be used for appointments and stuff. It's not like you have to be out for weeks at a time. Thankfully I have a reasonable employeer, but the FMLA helped save my job when I was blind

Silicone eyes
Silicone eyes 2014-02-10 08:00:25 -0600 Report

Tell them after. I have worked with as few as 10 people and as many as 2000, and in every case, you are lucky to have 1 or 2 people that aren't intellectually impaired. I was once accused of 'shooting up' at lunch time, one step from calling the police. There are 2 issues here, you need someone you can trust to know, in case your found laying on the floor covered in sweat and drool. The other issue is with HR/scheduling stuff. Tell them the bare minimum, in my opinion.

bayridgevet 2014-02-10 05:49:31 -0600 Report

Tell them after no doubt if you have to. Don't do retail or anything physical. Get a skill and go with that, try to get a municipal state or federal job. Don't try to explain your diabetes to people, most employers will work with you up to a point. You have to think about the future and plan if you are type 1.

jaydoubleyou23 2014-02-09 23:32:07 -0600 Report

I would definitely tell them after being hired. But make sure you tell them because then they can't hold it against you and say "well you never mentioned that".

IronOre 2014-02-09 19:50:08 -0600 Report

I tell them after being hired; only because they need to be aware of why you may not be just right (or acting goofy) on a certain day. Unless of course the job involves something that your diabetes will have a gross negative effect on (pilot, or any other kind of "driver")
So if they see you running naked down the hallway, they need to check your BS.
If you are in the U.S. your really don't need to be told why you are being let go from a job, just like you don't need to tell them why you are leaving a job. It goes both ways.

Red-Sox-Rich 2014-02-09 15:07:35 -0600 Report

I have some of this info posted at my work station. I discussed my diabetes with my boss. He has the right to know just as much as I have rights to be treated fairly as a diabetic. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/...

locarb 2014-02-09 18:49:47 -0600 Report

Actually, your boss has no right to know UNLESS you've requested an accommodation or leave of absence under Federal or applicable State law. I've spent 25 years as an HR Consultant and have an MBA with an emphasis in HR. While the protections that you deserve are "protected" per se, I have never been busier with medical discrimination claims against employers. The sad truth is, and I am also not casting aspersions against all employers, most employers either don't know the law(s) or exactly as jazzyiphone said, they will find a reason to promote or hire someone else. Take a look at the EEOC or Department of Labor websites. You will see that leaves of absence/medical claims against employers have sky-rocketed.

Having said all of that, I'm glad that you have such trust in your boss. I honestly hope that you confidence is well placed and I wish the best for you.

Red-Sox-Rich 2014-02-09 19:16:01 -0600 Report

Been with the same boss for over 25 years. I have had minor and major operations and I guess I am a good enough employee ( in a small business) to keep around. People with diabetes BETTER let someone at work know about their condition. To NOT tell someone at work that you have diabetes is a HUGE mistake ! I have instructed co-workers and my boss what to do if I am in need. My whole life I have been up front with people and yes I have been burned by my honesty, but all in all I will take my chances that I have done the right thing. If any employer would use a medical condition against me then I would gladly move on to a better working environment.

Type1Lou 2014-02-09 13:16:38 -0600 Report

I worked 24 years for the same company and developed my diabetes 6 years after I started work there. I held many positions from customer service rep (entry-level) to management. The only time I got a less than stellar rating was because of a hospitalization requiring I take about 6 weeks of my illness time. The hospitalization was not due to my diabetes. My employer had very specific guidelines about how many days sick leave I could take and be rated "Exceeds"..in fact, each rating level had a specific number of sick days/occurences that could be used…if you exceeded it, you got bumped down in your rating. If you are a productive worker, most companies will work with you because they don't want to lose you.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-02-09 16:04:32 -0600 Report

Lou when I worked for the State, we earned sick leave based on years of service. Each illness was an occurrance. You could be off 3 days before you had a doctors notice. If you were in the hospital either you or a family member had to call in for you every 3 days and you have to have been cleared by a doctor to get to work. If you called off sick a day hear and a day there, you eventually were told to bring in a notice from the doctor. This meant if you called off on Monday, you had to have a doctors slip in your hand on Tuesday when you came to work. Failure to do so could lead to a suspension.

If you continued to take days off you got suspended for abuse of sick leave. This could cause them to send you to the state doctor or termination. Most people quit when it got to that point.

If you have an illness that is going to require you to be off you really should have a discussion with your boss. When I was off sick for two months, I returned under doctors instructions and could only work 3 days a week. My boss tried to change it but Human Resources told her they had to abide by the doctors instructions and told me what I needed to do.

If you are diabetic and you take off, because of doctors appointments or because of diabetes related illnesses, you can be fired if you if you abuse the companies policy. Just because you are diabetic does not mean there is a seperate policy for diabetics. Irregardless of what disability you have, you still have to abide by the policies the same as every employee in the company.

allen405 2014-02-09 13:07:38 -0600 Report

Thanks for all the great replies. You've given me some food for thought(diabetic friendly of course). ;)

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-02-09 12:15:27 -0600 Report

You don't have to tell them but you should if the job requires you to operate heavy equipment. However, if you have a problem due to being diabetic that causes you to faint or need to go to the ER, the employer will find out. Paramedics are not going to take you to a private room to revive you. If you have a medic alert bracelet or someone searches your wallet to find contact information, your secret will be revealed. The problem each and every employee has to face is Comany Policies.

Having worked for both the state and private industry, I was a manager as well as a union local vice president and shop steward. I have seen people fired for all kinds of reason. Most of them were fired for abuse of sick leave and lateness.

Each company has company policies and in many cases, each employee is given a copy of those policies which you may have to sign. The problem is people don't read them.

People also don't think before making an appointment. When possible make all doctors appointments before or after work depending on your work schedule (days/hours) and if the doctor offers them. Some doctors have Saturday hours. Take advantage of them.

The problem that employees encounter is that they think they are in the clear. Look at how sick leave is suppose to be used based on the written policy. If doctors appointments are charged as sick leave, so every doctors appointment regardless if you come to work, leave for the appointment and return to work it is still viewed as sick leave.

Here is what you can do, talk to Human Resources and discuss the sick leave policy. Ask your boss if you can go to a doctors appointment and instead of using sick leave if you can charge it as your lunch period provided you are in and out during the time frame for your lunch.

Example: You have one hour for lunch. You leave for the appointment and return 90mins later. Ask you boss if you can stay a half hour after work, come in a half hour before work or take 30 mins for lunch to make up the time.

It isn't because the person has diabetes, it is because the person takes off too much time and violates sick leave poilicies that get them fired. You have to hope the company is willing to work with you.

jigsaw 2014-02-09 07:41:42 -0600 Report

I don't think it's necessary to tell your employer that you have diabetes. It probably makes about as much sense as telling your sexual preferences on an interview. An employer is obviously looking to see who has the best qualifications to do the job, and be productive.If you believe that you are well qualified, than accentuate your qualifications. If you don't think that you can be an asset to a prospective employer, don't apply for the position.

allen405 2014-02-08 18:34:05 -0600 Report

Thanks, I'm not really interested in any cases against former employers. From what I've read so far, I'm not gonna say anything next time and see what happens.

debimzadi 2014-02-08 18:16:14 -0600 Report

I am sorry to hear about your situation. If they cited attendance and you've only missed for medical reasons I would think that is discrimination. Have you checked into that?

jayabee52 2014-02-08 17:24:47 -0600 Report

Howdy Allen
I disagree with Dagger below on this one. According to the US American with disabilties law a perspective employer cannot ask you about your health. I understand the only thing they are allowed to ask is if there is anything which would make you unable to perform the essential duties of the job (or some such verbage)

I would tell them after you are hired for your safety so if you become hypo they'd know what was happening with you. For you safety notify the co-workers who commonly work with you and train them what to do in the case of a hypo attack.

This has been discussed in other discussions here. Here is one from about 3 yrs ago ~ http://www.diabeticconnect.com/diabetes-discu... You might want to take a look to see what others have said about this

God's best to you