Diabetes Disability Discrimination

You have diabetes. It's not your fault. Diabetes is considered a disability in the workplace under discrimination law in New York State and New York City, and your employer cannot discriminate against you because of your diabetes.

You don’t need to be ashamed or apologetic that you have diabetes. It is a very common disease, with something like a million cases diagnosed each year. As you yourself may suffer from diabetes, you know that it cannot be cured, but it can be managed by diet, exercise or by taking insulin. You know that you can perform your job, but your employer may have the false belief that you cannot. They think that you will need a lot of time off, or that you cannot perform basic tasks.

People with diabetes may experience discrimination in the workplace in New York, both in hiring and firing. You may undergo diabetes condition discrimination at work because your employer doesn't understand you are still able to work even though you are being treated for diabetes. Even if your diabetes is under control,  sometimes your employer believes that you are likely to be absent from work or that you won't focus on your job and will perceive you to be disabled, even though you can get your job done. Even if you have to be absent from work, and you need to take sick leave, for a portion of the day or for longer periods, that does not mean that you will not continue to be a productive employee. Don't give up, even if your diabetes is having side effects which for the time being affect your ability to work.

You are entitled to a reasonable accommodation for your diabetes, and your New York employer cannot subject you to diabetes disability discrimination. For example, you may request work a regular work schedule, meal breaks (sometimes frequent), a private place to test your blood sugar levels or administer insulin, a rest area when necessary (with a cot), reduction or restructuring of strenuous activities, allowing standing or sitting as required to perform your work, a shorter work day combined with a longer week, and some proportion of job sharing. If your vision has been affected, you might request a magnifier, for reading, or software for the computer you work on. If your employer does not give you a reasonable accommodation, that would be disability discrimination because of your diabetes.

Nor can your New York employer subject you to a hostile environment because of your diabetes. That would also be a form of disability discrimination. For example, you have to take breaks for meals or to administer insulin, and your employer makes negative comments about this, or says it will set a bad example for other workers, even though you are perfectly capable of doing your job with a reasonable accommodation. That would be a form of hostile environment disability discrimination based on your diabetes.

Your employer cannot disclose your medical information or records to just anyone. You are entitled to confidentiality in your medical records and information.

If you are afraid to ask for an accommodation, know that your employer cannot retaliate against you for requesting an accommodation.

Contact us online or call us at (212) 949-1001 so that we can review if your New York City employer has subjected you to disability discrimination because of your diabetes in violation of law in New York State or New York City.