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Diabetes and job


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  • Diabetes and job

    Well, think i may have shot myself in the foot. Due to some medical issues with type 2 diabetes, i asked my sheriff for the reasonable accommodation of being allowed time to deal with low blood sugar if needed. My Dr has cleared me unrestricted with the side note that low sugar should be addressed when it occurs and could affect my ability to be in a physical confrontation while i am low. My county HR dept and sheriff now wont allow me to return. Guess i shouldnt have been honest. Anyone dealt with this? Suggestions? Any lawyer suggestions?

  • #2
    What kind of reasonable accommodation were you asking for? Low blood sugar is usually not that big of a deal to address. You feel it coming on, grab your test kit and check (which takes less than a minute) calculate how many carbs you needs to consume to bring you up to normal and reach in you bag for the right amount of snacks you carry with you to bring your blood sugar up. It's not something you announce to the world or need reasonable accommodation for.

    I had a couple guys working for me who used to make a game out of their diabetes. They both worked a foot beat together. They would take their meal breaks together, shoot up, pound the pavement for a certain amount of time and then measure their blood sugar to see who had the lowest. But I digress...

    There are two issues here -

    Under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), your employer is required to provide "Reasonable Accommodation." What you have requested by be denied if the employer deems it to be burdensome or unreasonable, so the specifics of what you requested is important. That brings us to the next issue.

    In order to comply with the ADA, you employer has somewhere in their archives, a list of all the physical tasks and medical requirements a person holding your job position must be capable of performing. Generally speaking under the ADA, once you passed your preemployment physical you are pretty much home free until such time as your employer becomes aware that your are suffering from an injury or illness that prevents from performing ALL of those tasks and meeting those requirements. At that point you no longer meet the minimum requirements for the job you hold and are subject to separation (medical termination, retirement, etc.)

    A lot of folks screw up by trying to play the diabetic card. For example, it is common knowledge that working graveyard shift can cause drops in a diabetic's blood sugar. However, the minimum requirement of most peace officer jobs is the ability to work at any hour of the day or night and to be able to report for duty when called. A diabetic who asks to be exempted from working graves because of his illness has self-reported that he no longer meets the minimum medical requirements of the position.

    Go here https://post.ca.gov/portals/0/post_d...anual/Endo.pdf

    and read the section on diabetes. While these are California's standards, the logic and reasoning behind them do not stop at the state borders and I believe you will find most other states embrace the same thinking. This will give you an idea of what you are up against.

    Next, if you belong to a union or DSA, turn to them for representation - that's what you are paying them for.

    If they are no hlp, look for an attorney that specializes in Equal Employment Opportunity matters. He will no doubt file complaints on your behalf with state or federal EEO agencies, if you have a case.

    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere


    • #3
      Thank you. Wish I’d spoken to you first. This is new to me. I’ve had some low sugars at home and didn’t want to be directing traffic somewhere or something and have issues. I carry sugar on me. I was just being honest with them. I just didn’t want to be like a local Officer I used to work with that used to drop out and have to have someone come to take his duty belt before he got transported. Hindsight.


      • #4
        It sounds like the local guy your are referring to didn't know how to control his diabetes. I became type 2, 21 years ago and never had a problem while I was working. However over the past few months, my blood sugar has started to drop on a semi-regular basis during the afternoons and evening. My A1C dropped a whole point in the last six month as well. Fortunately, I can feel it coming on, know to stop what I'm doing and grab a quick sugar fix. I have never found myself in trouble or even close to it as a result. I'm just surprised when it happens.
        Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere


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