Type 2 Diabetes and Your Workplace Rights

Type 2 Diabetes and Your Workplace Rights

Diabetes affects people differently. Some people with diabetes are able to perform their job duties without any problems.

Others have difficulties doing so due to the disease. There are many types of diabetes, but all of them share one thing in common: they cause a person’s blood sugar level to drop too low (hypoglycemia). If the blood sugar level drops too low, it means that the body doesn’t know how to react to it anymore. The person experiences symptoms such as shaking hands or slumping over, sweating and shivering, nausea and vomiting, confusion and hallucinations. Other symptoms include tiredness and fatigue. Most of these symptoms disappear when the blood sugar levels rise again.

The main problem with diabetes is that if left untreated, it causes complications like blindness, kidney failure or heart attack. Even though there are several medications available to treat diabetes, some of them don’t work well enough.

For example, insulin injections may not be effective in patients with type 1 diabetes. Insulin is a hormone which regulates the amount of glucose in the blood. When someone suffers from type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces little or no insulin. This means that it doesn’t produce enough insulin to keep up with the body’s need for glucose. The liver slows down the body’s glucose production.

Workplace Accommodations for People with Diabetes

In most cases people do their best to make sure their diabetes doesn’t affect their ability to do their job. However, there are times when a person cannot do their job due to the disease.

The first step is always to make sure that the person sees a physician right away. Some people may require medical attention in order to prevent them from going into a coma or even dying. When the doctor gives the person the all-clear, one can start to look into workplace accommodations.

If the person informs their employer of their diabetes, then the employer needs to make reasonable accommodations in order to keep them on board. People with diabetes should not be placed at a disadvantage compared to other employees who do not have a medical condition.

This could be in the form of more breaks in order to consume medication or being allowed to have a snack during work hours. If a person with diabetes has to undergo regular medical testing, then the employer should make arrangements to fit these work hours around such requirements.

Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can help employees of larger companies. This act states that if an employee has a serious medical condition which requires them to take time off, then the employer is obligated to hold their position open for them while they are away.

Sources & references used in this article:

Health economic benefits and quality of life during improved glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized, controlled, double-blind trial by MA Testa, DC Simonson – Jama, 1998 – jamanetwork.com

Prospective study of social and other risk factors for incidence of type 2 diabetes in the Whitehall II study by M Kumari, J Head, M Marmot – Archives of internal medicine, 2004 – jamanetwork.com

… and a community health worker team on diabetic control, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations among urban African Americans with type 2 diabetes … by TL Gary, M Batts-Turner, HC Yeh… – Archives of internal …, 2009 – jamanetwork.com