Recent Survey Shows People With Diabetes Face Prejudice In The Workplace

While this poll was taken in the United Kingdom, the results are reflective of how people in our country are treated at work when they suffer from the condition of diabetes.

A survey of over 800 people that have diabetes in the UK showed that 19% had been disciplined at work for needing time off to manage the condition. Additionally, 12% were not allowed time off, 25% were questioned about their time off due to illness, 30% of the people felt that having diabetes would impact their career. 30% also felt ashamed of having to take off of work from having diabetes rather than having a common cold, 16% said they lied and said they had a cold when calling in sick rather than saying it was because of their diabetes.

The UK has strict regulations against this with the Equality Act. It states that employers must make reasonable adjustments to prevent people with diabetes from experience disadvantages because of their condition. The survey revealed that 51% of the people polled believed that their employer was not doing such measures. The poll also showed that 25% had to take 3 days off due to diabetes, 60% said hospital appointments caused them to miss work. 47% said they missed work due to exhaustion while another 28% said that they had to miss work due to hypoglycemia! The poll was performed by Dexcom, which makes continuous glucose monitoring systems.

In the United States, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that prohibits the discrimination of individuals with disabilities. Diabetes is classified as a disability even if the employee is on insulin, medication and diet control. An individual that past history of diabetes also is considered disabled. The ADA states specific instructions on what an employer can and cannot do when they suspect that a job applicant and/or an employee has diabetes. It also has a detailed list of accomodations that must be provided for employees that suffer from the condition.