Kate Cornell was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in June of 2005. Since then, she has controlled diabetes through dietary changes, exercise, and, more recently, metformin. She shares her experiences and lessons learned here and on her blog, kates-sweet-success.blogspot.com, which was named as one of the top diabetes blogs for 2015 by Healthline.com.
A few years ago the New England Patriots cut Kyle Love from their team immediately following word that he had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This caused me to stop and think: What are our rights when we have diabetes?
I’ve never really thought of myself as being disabled, but the fact remains that, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, people with diabetes can be considered disabled. It’s important that you understand your rights under this act in order to be certain you aren’t discriminated against at work due to your diabetes.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has a great page dedicated to answering questions about diabetes, disability and your rights. Here are some highlights to know:
Your rights as a person with diabetes
• A potential employer may not ask you if you have diabetes. If that information is volunteered, then the potential employer may only ask if you require any accommodations.
• Reasonable accommodations include such things as extra breaks to test/inject, a quiet place to rest during a low blood sugar episode, the freedom to eat a snack when needed, and a modified schedule.
• An employer is not required to grant every request for a reasonable accommodation if that request causes undue hardship.
• You cannot be fired solely due to your diabetes.
The EEOC concludes, “Although not everyone who has diabetes has a disability as defined by the ADA, it is in the employer's best interest to try to work with employees who have diabetes, or are at risk for the disease, to help improve productivity, decrease absenteeism, and generally promote healthier lifestyles."
Know your rights and don’t hesitate to speak up if you feel your rights are being violated.