Diabetes Discrimination At Work: Is It Prohibited By Law In California?

By: JML Law | June 12, 2018.
Diabetes Discrimination At Work: Is It Prohibited By Law In California?

Unfortunately, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, religious and other types of discrimination are quite widespread in the workplaces in Los Angeles and all across California. But what about diabetes discrimination?

You probably know that discrimination on the basis of disability and medical condition is prohibited by California employment law, but what many people do not realize is that diabetes is one of the medical conditions protected by the law.

Sadly, workers with diabetes face discrimination at work simply because their employers, supervisors, and co-workers have no clue what diabetes is and how it is managed.

Examples of diabetes discrimination in California

“Unfortunately, we are seeing an increasing number of discrimination claims in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Riverside, and all across California with employees complaining that the mere word ‘diabetes’ has a very negative connotation in the workplaces,” says our Los Angeles discrimination attorney at the JML Law.

Many employers can refuse to hire, promote or increase pay for employees with diabetes based on baseless and stereotypical concerns about reliability and productivity of that particular worker. Some co-workers, meanwhile, especially those who have insufficient knowledge about diabetes, tend to avoid people with diabetes at all cost, fearing that they might “contract” diabetes through a handshake or through breathing the same air.

Other, less extreme, co-workers may be uncertain how to treat employees who have diabetes, especially when the latter are testing their blood glucose in the workplace, or are taking medication or treating hypoglycemia during the workday.

All these instances constitute diabetes discrimination.

Concealing diabetes from your employer

Knowing that discrimination against workers with diabetes is so prevalent in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California, people living with diabetes choose to conceal their medical condition from their employers and co-workers in order to avoid being discriminated against.

But concealing the fact that you are living with diabetes, although not illegal, can actually put your overall health at risk and decrease your safety in the workplace, as your fear that others might find out about your disease may result in you missing insulin injections, forgetting about blood glucose tests or skipping a meal.

Do not jeopardize your health just because you fear being discriminated against in the workplace. Instead, take legal action in case of any discriminatory behaviors or acts on the part of your employer or colleagues with the help of an experienced discrimination attorney in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California.

Diabetes-related questions are prohibited by law

Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act of 1973, employees living with diabetes must be treated fairly and equally to other workers.

While we have briefly discussed examples of diabetes discrimination earlier, it is important to keep in mind that employers are prohibited from asking job applicants or employees about whether they have a disability or diabetes, or asking indirect, less obvious questions to find out about the person’s possible medical conditional, including but not limited to questions such as “Do you administer any medications?” and “Have you ever passed out at work from low blood sugar levels?” These questions are illegal unless answering these questions is actually relevant to the prospective employee’s job duties.

Reasonable accommodations of employees with diabetes

“Not only does California employment law offer people living with diabetes discrimination protections, but also requires such workers to be provided with reasonable accommodations in the workplace,” say our best discrimination lawyers in California.

Reasonable accommodations of a worker with diabetes must be guaranteed and provided by every employer in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California unless the employer can prove that such accommodations would impose an “undue hardship” on the operation of the employer’s business.

Reasonable accommodation includes but is not limited to changing a worker’s work schedule so that he or she could take regular breaks in order to eat, check blood glucose and administer medication.

Have you been discriminated against on the basis of diabetes or any other medical condition? Seek legal advice from our Los Angeles discrimination attorney at the JML Law. Call 818-610-8800 or fill out this contact form.

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