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Facing discrimination due to diabetes? You can fight back

Diabetes is an illness that can affect many areas of your life, but with careful management, it does not necessarily have to impact your ability to work. Many people with this disease are able to have successful, lengthy careers, but others may find that they face certain types of mistreatment, even discrimination, because of the severity of their medical condition.

Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes meet the definition of disability. This means that, as a person with this disease, you have protection against mistreatment and have the right to seek employment like everyone else. As a protected individual with a qualifying disability, you also have the right to reasonable accommodations at your New York workplace.

What accommodations do you need at work?

Every case of diabetes is different. What you need to effectively deal with your disease may be different from someone else, yet you have the right to certain accommodations while you are at work if they are medically necessary. For individuals with diabetes, this may include the following:

  • Breaks in order to check insulin levels
  • Ability to sit as needed if you have neuropathy
  • Permission to eat or drink as necessary in order to manage blood sugar levels

People with this type of disease can hold a wide variety of jobs and are perfectly capable of succeeding in various types of career fields. With a few minor changes and accommodations, you can work safely and still manage your health care needs.

When employers won't cooperate

Both state and federal laws prohibit employers from mistreating employees because of medical conditions, including disabilities. If you have diabetes, you have the right to ask for necessary accommodations without fear of retaliation, demotion or losing your job.

Unfortunately, not all employers cooperate with your needs. You do not have to tolerate this, however, but have the right to fight for your needs. This may include taking legal action to resolve your issues.

How you can protect your rights

In a hostile or unaccommodating work environment, you may have to act as your own advocate. You should not have to put your career on hold because your employer does not understand your needs as a diabetic or simply refuses to cooperate with anti-discrimination laws.

One of the first steps you can take as a victim of disability discrimination is to seek appropriate help. With support, you can hold your employer accountable and fight to protect your rights in the workplace.

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