workplace discrimination

By Latest Reply 2013-07-07 01:28:31 -0500
Started 2011-01-13 15:10:32 -0600

My boss called me in to his office today (2nd time in 4 years he's done this) and told me that I need to find a way to check my blood sugar and take my shots in private. That others in the office were put off by my medical needs. He even suggested going into the bathroom; which I find demeaning. I explained to him when I need to test my blood sugar it can sometimes be an urgent thing, and I can't waste time walking down the hall. I find this a form of discrimination.. your thoughts?

37 replies

Veronica May
Veronica May 2013-07-07 01:28:31 -0500 Report

Isn't it illegal to discriminate on the grounds of health unless the condition poses a threat to you or your workmates? It is here. I take my bloods and inject myself wherever I happen to be, at home, in a restaurant or even on public transport. If your co-workers don't like to see you doing it just tell them not to look.

Starry20 2011-05-29 12:08:22 -0500 Report

I'm 12 and one of my teachers did that to me while eating a snack, she told ne to either stop or go to the hall and so what I did was went to the person above her… The bosses boss so I'd try that.. Or file a formal complaint… Either should work i guess

melissa5786 2011-05-29 09:16:15 -0500 Report

My new supervisor is a kindred spirit, so she understand the urgent need for food or BG testing. I've never been asked to go into the bathroom to test. Luckily we have an office in our child care area, so I can go in there. There have been times when I needed to test ASAP and did it right in the room. We actually talk about highs and lows together sometimes. What we do, how we act. It's nice to know someone working with me deals with the same issues.

We have kids that come in with diabetes, so the parents never complain or anything. I've actually had conversations with some of the kids who think it's "so cool" to have someone they see every day and like do something they have to do, too.

I may not always have it this easy. My old supervisor's granddaughter got diagnosed right around the same time I did, so she was another person who sympathized with me.

AuntieM234 2011-05-29 04:28:11 -0500 Report

I agree that the situation constitutes workplace discrimination. Courtesy would dictate, anyway, that others shouldn't be watching you. If it is offensive to them they should just turn away.

annapolansky 2011-05-17 06:02:35 -0500 Report

i worked in assembly line,in october 2010 my diabetes had took a turn for the worse my dr. added more insulin during the day and i had to tell my supervisior of my situation and about my emergency insulin, she threw her hands in the air said she wanted no part of it and made me lock my insulin up on the other side of the plant ,and told me i had 10 mins to test and inject at all breaks and lunch!! an shorly after i was treated alot different!!!

teepee 2011-05-02 14:49:25 -0500 Report

It was 3 years ago that I was fired from a TVA plant in Tenn. for diabetes. The nurse practioner said I was a safty risk on HER job!! Because I was fired you ca forget getting another job at a nuclear plant. I couldn't get a job. I decided to go to college and start another career. Mind you, I 54 years old with and as the doctors call me a brittle type 1 diabetic. Ihave trouble maintaining a proper weight, at 5'5 I struggle at staying at 130lb. or above. While in school I did a research paper and that's when I first learned that I may heve been discriminated against. I became very angry because I am in school working on a medical degree. We're always being told that we are goin to be helping people to get better. The woman who terminated me was supposed to be a medical professional. She was very rude to me, I had told her that I had just been to my doctor the week before coming to the job and we talked about a pump. She told me in no certain terms that if I'd come to HER job with a pump she would have turned me around at the gate. I guess it doesn't matter what profession you have some people just care about their job and nothing else. When I graduate Trust Me I will remember what my job is supposed to be!!

majikinfl 2011-05-29 22:17:30 -0500 Report

Being a retired RN I have had way to many run ins with UNCARING nurses and management. Its a real shame…they cannot feel the pain people other than themselves go through to get and keep a job. I believe the poster was discriminated against, unfortunately "bosses" could care less. I wish her well.

Anonymous 2011-04-30 21:45:04 -0500 Report

Wow I didn't realize that it was discrimination until it was pointed out on this website. I am a kindergarten teacher of course I will never test my blood sugar in front of my students. I didn't have a problem last year when I was first diagnosed but this year I have a new principal and she has made my life impossible.

vvanata 2011-05-17 23:41:41 -0500 Report

You would think they would rather see you test your blood sugar than pass out from being too low or going into a coma from being too high. they would get sued for either one of those because if you got a lawyer and told the lawyer you weren't allowed to test your blood sugar then the lawyers would have a hay day over that. It is medically necessary and you could potentially die, its serious stuff. thats horrible how they are treating people. Its not like we CHOSE to be diabetic. haha

Uncle Lew
Uncle Lew 2011-04-30 16:32:28 -0500 Report

Below is a goverment web site that gives the full information about you and your employer's righst concerning people with diabets. It includes questions and answers as well as examples. Remember it is his iand your fellow employees ignorance concerning diabetes that causes these problems. I personally cannot understand what is so disturbing about testing your blood sugar unless you make a big deal about it. I have tested my blood surgar when I was working in offices and in supermarkets as a chef & baker with no comments from my fellow employees or management. maybe a little discreton on your part could help solve the problem.

jayabee52 2011-04-30 14:40:34 -0500 Report

Howdy, Lisa !
It's been a while since you posted this. Have there been further incidents like this? Please give us an update.

Praying for you and yours

James Baker

pixsidust 2011-04-30 13:28:40 -0500 Report

send him an email restating what he said and how you feel. If he replies back then you have it in writing from his email documentation of the conversation

PetiePal 2011-01-17 13:21:43 -0600 Report

This is likely discrimination and illegal. I would get a note from your doctor to cover your butt and then let that be the end of it. If they affect your performance reviews etc then I would threaten legal action. Testing your sugar or doing injections in the privacy of your own desk/cube/office is not affecting anyone.

If you have a medical emergency due to their restrictions placed on you they would be held legally responsible…

spizale143 2011-03-24 00:51:11 -0500 Report


ToniWal 2011-04-30 13:03:32 -0500 Report

I would laugh and walk away! Then, if your supervisor follows you, you have grounds for harrassment and discrimination. You have to get something in writing and shows the discrimination. It's a contract and if they break it, then you have defined and definite grounds. Otherwise, its your word against the supervisor. I had the University of Texas at Arlington History Dept. say to me that they had never had someone come back from a stroke (I had four over a year) and from then on they were going to see to it that I did not graduate with my Ph.D. I had passed all of my comps and written all but two chapters of my dissertation, but they kept finding issues and increasing the pressure. I did not graduate. Threatening them may be a little strong at first! Or you can take the opportunity to EDUCATE them, by taking them into a closed room and talking to them as if they are children who don't know any better! If that doesn't work, there are issues that can be addressed. I continue to sing, but I can not be a doctoral historian unless I start all over again!

headkeep 2011-04-30 14:28:46 -0500 Report

Please check your state laws before thinking about any legal action. In TN an employer can fire you for no reason! Plus, in 2004 I was quite sick. My supervisor had no idea how to spell diabetes much less make believe he knew something about it! I was just about to get my review when I was diagnosed with ESRD! In less than a month after being diagnosed, I was on PD dialysis. Finally got to feeling better and he gave me my review and preferences it by saying "didn't bother rewriting it". The whole review was about how I needed to take better care of myself! BTW, my A1C has been in the 6.3 neighborhood since 1996! Don't kid yourself, their is plenty of discrimination out there. Thank God no one calls it "sugar" anymore. I'm a type 1, diagnosed in 1960. Got lots more stories too!

Anonymous 2013-07-06 18:05:01 -0500 Report

For those who live in TN or any state commonly referred to "hire/fire at will" states please know that there IS legal recourse - I live in TN and have won 2 unlawful firing unemploymnet claims. Hire/fire at will is not absolute.

LynnDW 2011-01-15 14:31:23 -0600 Report

Sorry I also forgot to tell you something else…this same company tried to tell me I couldn't eat at my desk…I reminded them I was diabetic and they knew I was diabetic when I was hired and I have to eat when I have a reaction…and I am sure you turn your back to take any shots you have to take (I say this because I did have a driver who would faint if he saw someone take shots [he inadvertently came into my office just when I threw my needle into my skin and passed out cold!]) so a little discretion is advised; but to make you leave your desk? ABSURD!!!!! LynnDW

LynnDW 2011-01-15 14:27:21 -0600 Report

Well I used to work for a MAJOR aerospace industry and was called into the office and TOLD that if I had anymore insulin shock reactions (I'd had four in two months) that it would affect my performance appraisal. I filed a two page single spaced complaint with HR and within 30 days was "laid off"…so YES DISCRIMINATION EXISTS…and I feel that your issue was discriminatory…but find yourself a really good attorney before you do anything (posting your picture might not have been a good thing…companies check this stuff ALL THE TIME) before you do anything!!! In today's job market you may have to bite the bullet to keep a job…Good Luck!!! LynnDW

gorrilla 2011-01-15 13:35:22 -0600 Report

I'm not a lawyer, but I am involved in mid-level management. I have at the moment 7 people that work under me, and would never dream of asking a person to go somewhere "out of sight" to attend to their diabetes care. I feel it's a slam dunk case of discrimination against you. What's peoples big problem anyway? It's just a little finger stick, and then the injection. Whoop-te-do. Possibly reminds someone that they might ought to be taking better care of their own diabetes a little better or something! Possibly someone in denial or something?
Of course, some bosses just get totally hyper about someone doing ANYTHING that's not work related every second of the day. Penny wise and pound foolish as the saying goes. A review of the Disabilities Act is definitely in order. Of course, he (or she) would would need to read up on the hiring practices section also, to prevent a problem should they get even more foolish and try to terminate someone over such a silly thing.

starlite713 2011-01-14 17:49:49 -0600 Report

Wow. I have never had this happen to me. I do my tests and injections in public and at work all the time - even at the table in restaurants! No one has ever said anything negative to me, so I guess I'm lucky. Most of the time, people just look at me, or start a conversation regarding diabetes care. I agree with the last few posts - it is definitely discrimination and is completely wrong.

realsis77 2011-01-14 11:45:42 -0600 Report

Hi, yes I absouluty feel this is a form of discrimanation! You should be allowed to test your blood where and when you need to! He needs to be brought up to speed by the americans with disabilitys act and also he should be more sensitive to your needs! I used to work in dentistry and I'm fed up with bosses that wouldn't even give me a bathroom break (I would get constant bladder infections) they can be so insensetive and its illegal not to mention imoral! Sometimes these kind of bosses need a reality check! If I were you id give him a copy of the americians with disability act and bring him up to speed. I hear stories like your a lot and they make me sooo angry because I've suffered years of abuse from bosses like that! I spent 20 years working under some of the most arrogant and demanding bosses and I was young and didn't know better! Boy if I had it to do over again!…don't let your boss get away with this! How dare him! Gosh this makes me sooo angry! Do. Some research and know your rights and stand up for those rights! He will then learn his place. Good luck to you and I pray all goes well for you! Remember know your rights and remind him of those rights incase he's forgotten! I wish you the very best and please keep us posted about this ok?

kdroberts 2011-01-14 08:16:32 -0600 Report

Give him a copy of the Amended Americans with Disability Act and explain about reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities which diabetes is included. If it doesn't get better tell him that the American Diabetes Association has a hatful of lawyers that would love to get involved with a discrimination case.

jayabee52 2011-01-14 02:26:57 -0600 Report

In my book, that's harassment. I really don't think you should be subjected to that. According to the ADA, they are required to make "reasonable accomodations" for you to care for yourself in your workplace. The ADA is a federal law. Some states (like CA) have their own laws which bolster the federal law, but cannot reduce the protections of the ADA for disabled workers.

If the harassment continues you might have to sue your employer. That is something which should be done by someone who has won ADA cases previosly. The law is complex and needs someone well versed in the ADA law.

I pray you don't haveactually sue anyone, but talk with an ADA lawyer before saying anything to your employer so you will know what to do, and when to do it.

One thing you my want to do, is to document any harassment, who said what, when.

Blessings to you and yours.


jd williams
jd williams 2011-01-13 22:25:36 -0600 Report

well there are some people this bothers i guess,,, some one complained about it , he was only doing his job,, but perhaps he to good at it,,, hang in there

door331 2011-01-13 15:28:15 -0600 Report

you might want to read up on the American Diabetes Association website about workplace discrimination. Under the disabilities act your employer must provide reasonable accommodations. I recommend reading up on the issue and contacting the proper departments if you still have problems at work.

here is a direct link to their site and resources:

CaliKo 2011-01-13 15:21:16 -0600 Report

Hi, what kind of environment do you work in? Is it an office? Is there perhaps an empty office or conference room nearby where you could go? I don't like using bathrooms either for testing or shots. I'm not familiar with the laws on discrimination since I've been lucky to have understanding co-workers since I was diagnosed. I'm sorry you have to deal with those that are not as compassionate.

saleana 2011-01-14 06:47:32 -0600 Report

well where i use to work we had from 25 girls to 50 grils in a dorm likeroom and some of ladiy would complian to the room lead about me givng my shot i was in my space in my bed i would tell them if u dont like it dont look and i was not going to the drity bathroom to shoot up my meds they were nuts finlly they would leave me alone

2011-01-13 15:26:39 -0600 Report

I work in a TV studio/production area. I could duck in to an empty studio, but I just feel that I am so subtle and unobtrussive when I do these procedures; always under the desk or table. I don't reveal any bodyparts and it's something I must do multiple times a day (injections; no pump). It just infuriated me today.

Dev 2011-01-14 12:39:32 -0600 Report

Is there a possibility to talk to people you work with about diabetes - what it means for you (in terms of checking BG and taking insulin) and the effects it can have if you aren't disciplined enough to do that anywhere you are (including workspace).
Many times people complain out of lack of knowledge. I hope once they know, they will feel differently or would be more supportive.

I feel that you shouldn't have to hide under the table to test either. Once people know you might be able to do what you need to do openely. and not feel so pressurred to be unobtrusive.
Hang in there.

squab 2011-02-24 17:05:42 -0600 Report

It is still amazing to me that employers are so ignorant (and often arrogant) with regards to disabilities. I have an open case with the EEOC simply because my FORMER employer refused to discuss reasonable accomodation. I was terminated just 36 hours after submitting a letter from my doctor!!

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