Diabetes, in all its forms; Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes, is a pervasive disease that affects various aspects of individual’s lives who are diagnosed. Type 1 diabetes [occurs] when the body produces too little or does not produce insulin, the hormone needed to allow sugar to enter cells and produce energy. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in infancy or adolescence, however it can occur in adulthood. Individuals diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes are insulin-dependent, and while there is no cure it can be successfully managed. Type 2 diabetes is far more common and occurs when the body has too little insulin or becomes resistant to insulin all together. Type 2 diabetes is often the result of poor diet and is usually treated with diet control, exercise and weight management. However, in certain cases it advances too far to be controlled by diet and individuals can become insulin dependent. Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and can lead to high blood pressure and effect the baby’s health. Gestational diabetes is also treated with diet control, exercise and weight management. Often, once the baby is delivered, blood sugar levels return to normal.

Aside from food restrictions, there are many secondary complications associated with all forms of diabetes, including glaucoma, cataracts, and other eye problems, neuropathy, or nerve damage, most commonly in the feet (causing numbness of the feet), skin infections and high blood pressure. Additionally, if blood sugar levels are not closely monitored, dangerously high or dangerously low blood sugar levels can occur and lead to diabetic coma, which can result in death.

All of these various health issues can affect an individual’s ability to perform at work, or to complete assigned tasks during times of acute illness and may require reasonable employer accommodations. Additionally, there is the potential for employers to view diabetes as a limiting condition, and perceive those living with diabetes as having an unusually high risk of chronic health problems. These perceptions lead to discrimination by employers both during the hiring process and in the workplace. It is important to know that there are some instances when diabetes symptoms are deemed an impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity, and are considered a disability under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA prohibits discriminatory behavior in the workplace, as many people know, and also during the hiring process. Specifically, employers cannot require medical examination prior to employment, and are prohibited from asking about medical procedures an applicant may have undergone, or use of medication. Conversely, employers are permitted to ask if an applicant will need accommodations to complete the application, and can conduct non-medical tests to measure the applicant’s ability to perform job related functions. Once an employer has made a job offer, they can require medical examination provided all applicants are treated the same. However, it is important to know that an employer can only withdraw a job offer if post-offer examination show that employee is unable to perform the essential functions of the position. In the workplace, discrimination has many faces, including demotions, adverse changes in responsibilities, and chronic failure to promote.

Persons on Long Island, in either Nassau or Suffolk counties, who are living with Diabetes, whether it be Type 1 Diabetes , Type 2 Diabetes , or Gestational Diabetes, are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Individuals with any type of Diabetes who fail to receive reasonable accommodations, or who experience disability discrimination in the workplace, either during the hiring process or on the job, should contact a New York disability employment attorney that can aggressively stand up for your rights. The firm has had successful results in these cases.

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