About to be terminated for being late to work from dealing with lows.

By Anonymous Latest Reply 2016-12-24 14:45:35 -0600
Started 2016-10-18 11:37:52 -0500

I have a bit of a dilemma. My job told me if I was late to work one more time I would be terminated. Some mornings I have terrible lows and can't get to work at my scheduled time, which is 5 am. I asked if I got a note from my doctor stating that I may have some days where I come in late due to hypoglycemic episodes and my boss told me that it was unacceptable. What should I do? I can't guarantee that I won't get another low in the morning, I'm not about to risk my life and others driving to work with a low just to be there at 5 am!

16 replies

BigMouse Dave
BigMouse Dave 2016-12-24 14:45:35 -0600 Report

the key is to request a "Reasonable Accommodation" which they are required to do unless it creates an unreasonable business condition. Make the request in writing to your supervisor AND HR. I say this because you supervisor may not know the law.

Vhm 2016-10-22 19:02:30 -0500 Report

If you live in the US you should obtain a note from your doctor stating you need a reasonable accommodation of adjusted work hours, or if your work has shifts, a different shift altogether. Make sure the note says 'reasonable accommodation.' Give the note to your supervisor or HR at your work (keep a copy).

Type1Lou 2016-10-21 14:35:19 -0500 Report

Both from a health standpoint and from a job standpoint, you need to get your lows under control. What have you been doing to gain better control of your diabetes to eliminate those hypos or make them less severe? Are you using an insulin pump or are you on MDI (Multiple Daily Injections). (I had far more serious hypos prior to starting on an insulin pump in 2011. Since pumping, I have not needed glucagon ot made trips to the ER due to lows.) How often are you testing your BG's? Are you testing before bedtime and eating something if too low? Do you indulge in any alcohol in the evening? Alcohol can have an insidious effect on BG's, causing your BG to drop. Is there a pattern to when you experience these lows? Are there behaviors that might be contributing to the hypos and, if so, are you willing to change those behaviors. I'm retired now but worked for nearly 30 years as a Type 1 diabetic (dx'd at age 27). Some days, I wound up working 10 to 12 hours because the job demanded it. I always had snacks with me to handle any lows that might occur but don't recall problems with early morning lows preventing me from arriving at work on time…I would usually start work around 7:30 am even though the normal start time was 8:15 am. Hope you get this sorted out.

Luis65 2016-10-21 16:19:10 -0500 Report

I was hoping you would reply. When T1D post troubles I always want to read what Type1Lou thinks.

Type1Lou 2016-10-21 17:26:25 -0500 Report

There's so much information missing, Luis. Dealing with hypos are the pits but, if he/she is diligent in testing and shares his/her troubles with his/her health team, they should be able to get this under control with adaptations to insulin dosages and eating/drinking habits…but it takes determination. We don't know how long he/she has worked at this job nor how many times he/she has shown up late due to the hypos. I believe he/she is young and probably new at handling diabetes. When first diagnosed, I would still go out with friends after work but would order club soda instead of drinking any alcohol. I do allow myself an occasional drink but am very aware that over-indulging will make my BG plummet…so I stop after one glass of wine…it's what I have to do to stay in control. A diabetes diagnosis creates a different reality for us and we can't continue to act as though the diabetes doesn't exist as much as we wish we could…not and function well. I'm not implying that this is what is occurring in this instance…We just don't know.

Luis65 2016-10-21 18:46:00 -0500 Report

Well, you've addressed my concerns about this person. The possibility of termination from her employment will be moot if she is terminated by an out of control hypo. Even if they don't kill they are not safe to ignore.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2016-10-20 21:29:25 -0500 Report

Hi Anonymous, really sorry to hear this. I am going to second Gabby's wise advice. If you are in a large enough company to have an HR department, then check in with them and let them know what's going on. And contact the labor department in your state, or look on their website, to see what you can learn. And take good care of your health, keep yourself feeling at your best. I hope you will stay in touch with us and let us know how you're doing.

GabbyPA 2016-10-20 20:02:24 -0500 Report

There are discrimination laws that may help you, but it depends on a lot of different things and what state you are in. I would start with the HR person first. If that is also your boss, it could get sticky. Do a little research, know what applies in your state and how it works.

Then I would work on your lows. You don't want to have those, and I totally get that they come unannounced sometimes. But is there a way you can keep yourself a little more in range before going to bed so that they don't happen? If it is a chronic issue, I would say you need to talk to your doctor about the lows. Those can kill you, a job is not worth that.

If you cannot get that managed, and if you are missing many days, it can become very difficult for your boss to run his business. Just speaking as someone who is self employed, if I don't "show up" for work, work doesn't get done. So I kind of see his point there as well. Maybe try a different shift or if that doesn't work, maybe find a different job. It's a hard road to travel. I hope you get it figured out. Let us know what the outcome is.

Axonia 2016-10-20 02:46:50 -0500 Report

Contact human resources regarding your diabetes and the complications that may occur. Explore better management through diet.

Consueloj 2016-10-18 21:43:18 -0500 Report

Talk to your HR dept about FMLA. Have you been at your job for 12 months?
Family Medical Leave Act is federal law job protection. Diabetes absolutely fits the criteria. Your State may also have its own state law job protection rules. California does.

Meredith B
Meredith B 2016-10-18 15:04:24 -0500 Report

Get the note from your doctor and tell your boss, in writing, that you are formally requesting accommodations pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Then consult with a disabilities lawyer in your jurisdiction. You should be able to get reasonable accommodations.

Luis65 2016-10-18 13:59:00 -0500 Report

Not being T1D maybe I am out of line, but here goes. I don't have a clue about your boss' threat of termination. I am concerned about you having these hypos. Are you on MDI where you inject basal and bolus insulins or on a pump where that meters a basal dose with bolus to cover meals?

Have you received advice from a diabetic nurse educator on dosing to reduce the hypos? If you are having these regularly in the early morning something is not right. Maybe you are taking to large a dose of fast insulin for the carbs you are consuming. I really can't say. The T1D need to chime in. I do take insulin for T2D and have experienced some scary hypos, but I modified how much and when I inject which has been great. I reduced the dose and split it into 2 every 12 hours instead of one 24 hour dose.

One other thing, I worked shift work. Is this start time of 5AM a new thing. That was one of the things that messed with my sugars was a drastic change in schedules. I worked with a woman who is T1D and she did the strangest things diet wise.

haoleboy 2016-10-18 13:24:31 -0500 Report

not sure there is a lot you can do.
did you disclose that you are type one when you were hired? you might have some relief via ADA, but in that following a work schedule is a basic requirement of any job …
is 5 am the only option for a shift?
tough situation you are in.


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