The American Diabetes Association reports that over eight percent of the population is affected by the disease. Employers are expected to provide reasonable accommodations for diabetic employees under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Reasonable accommodations refers to adjustments to a job, employment practice, or the work environment, and must facilitate the productivity of a qualified person with a disability.

What are the implications for employers? Accommodation is not required if doing so imposes undue hardship on the employer. Most accommodations are minor and low cost. Cornell University offers the following information for employers:

  • An individual with diabetes is typically able to manage their condition responsibly. A regular work schedule with adequate breaks allowed for meals can be the extent of an employer’s responsibilities with respect to “reasonable accommodation.” Individuals with diabetes do not require special treatment from supervisors. Accommodations are ways to improve the productivity of the individual.
  • According to the American Diabetes Association, additional accommodations that a person with diabetes may require include time and a place to check blood glucose levels and the opportunity to eat regular meals and take medication. Employees should be permitted to eat at their work station because they may need a snack or water to manage blood sugar levels. A place to test store diabetes care supplies should be available and the employee should be allowed to test their blood glucose levels freely.
  • There may be a need for a flexible work schedule so that the employee can attend Doctor’s appointments. The employee may fall ill and require sick time, and an individual may find shift work difficult. Complications from diabetes may include loss of vision, damage to nerves, and amputation, which may require an employer to provide additional workplace accommodations. These may include vision aids or a designated parking spot.

For more information visit the American Diabetes Association. Ensure a fair and diverse work environment that supports your employees. Hire Standard Staffing can advise you on workplace Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines. Our professional staff is ready to meet your staffing and HR policy needs. Contact us today!