Is Diabetes Considered a Disability in the Workplace?

Workers with diabetes are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Diabetes is a medical condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Many of these individuals live full, productive lives, including maintaining employment. However, despite laws preventing discrimination against people with disabilities at work, workers with diabetes may still experience discrimination related to their condition. It is important to understand what qualifies as discrimination and how to protect your rights as an employee.

Discrimination against employees with diabetes can take many forms. Some examples include:

  • Refusing to hire someone because they have diabetes. This could include refusing them or revoking an offer of employment after learning that the individual has diabetes.
  • Denying promotions or other job opportunities due to diabetes status.
  • Harassment based on having diabetes. This could include making jokes or comments about the individual’s condition or spreading rumors.
  • Denying reasonable accommodations for diabetes-related needs, such as breaks for blood sugar checks or time off for doctor appointments. 
  • Retaliating against an employee who discloses their condition or requests accommodations due to having diabetes.

It is illegal for an employer to refuse to hire someone because they have diabetes. The ADA protects workers by forbidding employers from discriminating against them based on their disability status. Employers are not allowed to ask potential employees about their health history during an interview or on a job application; this includes asking questions about diabetes or any other medical condition.

Similarly, it is unlawful for an employer to promote someone over another employee just because one has diabetes and the other does not. Employers must make promotion decisions based solely on merit and job performance; any suggestion that someone was passed over because of their medical condition could be grounds for legal action. If a promotion opportunity arises and the employer does not consider individuals with disabilities, such as diabetes, for the position, this could also be considered employment discrimination.

Additionally, under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employees with certain medical conditions, including diabetes, may take up to 12 weeks off work per year without being penalized by their employers. However, some employers might try to discourage employees from taking leave or deny them leave altogether if they know or suspect the employee has a disability. Employers are required by law to provide reasonable accommodations, such as additional leave time if needed. Any attempt by an employer to deny these accommodations could be considered discrimination.

What Can an Employee Do if They Are Being Discriminated?

If you feel that you have been discriminated because of having diabetes, it is important to document everything and report it immediately to your employer and HR department. You should also consider filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC reviews complaints from people who believe they were denied equal opportunity in their workplace based on certain characteristics, such as race, gender, national origin, religion, age, pregnancy status, and disability. Depending on the situation, you may also be able to file a lawsuit against your employer if you feel your rights have been violated. 

South Jersey Employment Lawyer at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC Can Protects Your Rights

If you think your employment rights have been violated because you have diabetes, you need to speak with an experienced employment lawyer as soon as possible. To explore your legal options, speak with a South Jersey employment lawyer at The Law Offices of Leo B. Dubler, III, LLC today. Contact us at 856-235-7075 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. Located in Mount Laurel and Atlantic City, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients in South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Burlington County, and Camden County.