My Co-Worker Has Diabetes

If you work, most likely, a coworker of yours has diabetes, pre-diabetes or is undiagnosed.  

According to Kaiser Family Foundation data, for a company with 1,000 employees, 120 employees have diabetes. 34 of them are undiagnosed, and 370 have prediabetes.

If you believe that your coworker who has diabetes is being discriminated against, remind them of their rights.  They are protected under

  • The “Americans With Disabilities Act” if it is a private company with 15 employees or more
  • The “Rehabilitation Act of 1973” if it is the Federal Government
  • The “The Congressional Act” if you work for congress or other legislative branches

Most states have anti-discrimination laws and agencies responsible for enforcing those laws.

See http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/know-your-rights/ for more information.

In addition to the legislation listed above, a company cannot do any of the following…

  • A company cannot fail to hire or promote you because of your diabetes
  • A company cannot terminate you because of your diabetes (unless you pose a “direct threat”)
  • A company must provide you with reasonable accommodations that help you perform the essential functions of your job
  • A company must not discriminate regarding employer-provided health insurance

Encourage your co-workers to get moving even if you don’t know that anyone has diabetes, based on the statistics, someone most likely does have diabetes. If your coworker is testing their blood glucose at work, avoid making a big deal of it.  A knowing smile of support is enough.

Set a good example for others in your office. Take active breaks and walk around the office (inside and out). Take the stairs between floors instead of the elevator. Try taking a lunch break away from your desk, or going for a walk during lunch. Instead of sending an email to someone

in your office, take a walk and speak to them in person. Help your co-workers by not bringing in high sugar, high carbohydrate foods into the office, this will benefit you as well!

Speak to your HR department about incorporating a diabetes wellness program into the company’s wellness offerings like GlucoseZone to help all your coworkers who have diabetes and prediabetes.

“Stop Diabetes @ Work.” American Diabetes Association, www.diabetes.org/in-my-community/awareness-programs/stop-diabetes-at-work/?utm_source=Offline&utm_medium=Print&utm_content=workplace&utm_campaign=ADV%3Freferrer.

About the Author:

LaurieAnn Scher  MS, RD, CDE is the diabetes educator for GlucoseZone.  With over 30 years in practice, she embraces new technologies and ideas that are grounded in human physiology to help people with diabetes achieve the best outcome.  With an undergraduate degree in Clinical Nutrition from Cornell University and a Masters in Applied Physiology and Nutrition from Columbia University, Teachers College, she is comfortable applying innovations in nutrition, exercise and diabetes to the current practice of diabetes management.  LaurieAnn is comfortable with challenging the status quo to personalize diabetes care recognizing that while diabetes may be similar as a disease state, not everything works for all people all of the time.  Join LaurieAnn to help discover how to manage your diabetes in the GlucoseZone.

Want to hear more about this topic? Watch the Diabetes Talk below!