Understanding a Worker's Rights with Diabetes
Upon receiving a diagnosis of diabetes, one of the first questions that comes to mind is how the condition might affect their job performance or even their ability to gain employment. Aside from those concerns, one might wonder what his or her rights are considering the amount of self-care that’s required on a daily basis or the risk of complications later on.
Therefore, with all of these concerns on the forefront, a person would greatly benefit from finding out his or her rights in the workplace and during the job-hunting process.
Additionally, you also need to be aware of any possible effects on work performance in the event of developing any complications. Having all of this information would help to eliminate any confusion or worry on the part of the employee.
Awareness of impact on the work productivity
Realistically speaking, there is cause for trepidation for both employer and employee. In 2002, productivity losses associated with diabetes costed approximately $40 billion in medical costs. Data collected from a study conducted from 1992 to 1994 indicates that 490 of the 7,055 employees who participated had diabetes. Compared with their counterparts who did not have diabetes, the subjects were 6% more likely to have work restrictions than others.
With that information in mind, open communication with a healthcare provider would be the best option so as to develop and follow a sound management plan. Keeping track of glucose levels while mindfully following a diet and exercise regimen will help lessen the chance of encountering complications later on. Thus, these lifestyle changes could also impact productivity in a positive manner and consequently cut down on absences from work.
Laws that protect from discrimination
Familiarizing oneself with both state and federal labor laws is very important in any situation but more so when one has a chronic condition. The best place to start, when obtaining this information is at the local and state level. Every state has its own set of laws that prohibit discrimination, and some of these statutes go above and beyond what is outlined by federal law. Also, all states have agencies that provide this information and support for workers.
Some of federal laws that offer protection for workers include:
- The Americans with Disabilities Act
- The Congressional Accountability Act
- The Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Job Situations that Might Be Affected
On the other hand, some jobs are not suitable for a person who is diabetic, particularly if he or she is on insulin. There is a certain amount of risk involved for both the employee and for co-workers or clients, depending on what the job duties entail, such as a pilot. Other licensing options might be available, but a pilot who has diabetes would not be able to get certified to fly a commercial plane to transport passengers.
Other examples include first responders, such as police officers and firefighters along with commercial drivers. They might face restrictions similar to those of a commercial airline pilot where certification and job performance depends on one’s state of wellbeing. Also, certain branches of the military have restrictions, but in some cases, they depend on one’s management plan and the duties that he or she is expected to perform.