Handling Diabetes In The Workplace
There are around 4.5 million people living with diabetes in the UK and approximately 700 diagnoses per day, the equivalent of one person every two minutes. In the last 20 years, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK has more than doubled and it is estimated that there are around 1.1 million people in the UK who have diabetes but have not been diagnosed. This week is Diabetes week which aims to raise awareness of the condition, and we, therefore, thought it would be a good opportunity to consider an employer’s obligations and how they can help employees who have this lifelong condition. Is diabetes a disability? “Disability” is defined in the Equality Act 2010 as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. There are 2 types of diabetes: type 1, which is an autoimmune condition affecting around 10% of sufferers and type 2, which is caused by a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors and affects around 90% of sufferers. There is no straightforward answer as to whether diabetes amounts to a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act. Each case would be assessed on its own facts, and would focus on the impact the condition has on the employee’s ability to carry out day to day activities and whether a treatment or correction or a coping or avoidance strategy was applied to manage it. If a condition is treated or corrected, guidance suggests the effect of that treatment or correction should be ignored when assessing the condition and its impact on the employee but if a condition is managed using a coping or avoidance strategy, the effect of that coping or avoidance strategy should be taken into account when assessing the condit Continue reading >>
Diabetes And Social Security Disability
Diabetes - Condition Diabetes is a medical condition in which a person’s level of glucose, or blood sugar, is elevated. In a properly functioning circulatory system, blood carries glucose to all the cells in the body in order to produce energy, while the pancreas produces insulin to help the body absorb excess glucose. High levels of glucose in the blood are an indication that the body is not producing enough insulin, or that the insulin produced is not working as it should to help the body absorb glucose, indicating a Diabetic or pre-Diabetic condition. There are three types of Diabetes: Type 1, or “juvenile” Diabetes Type 2, or “adult onset” Diabetes, and Gestational Diabetes Diabetes mellitus is the medical name for both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. Pre-Diabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are elevated, indicating that an individual has a high risk of developing full-fledged Diabetes. Diabetes is a very serious disease which can result in high blood pressure, damage to the eyes, nerve damage, kidney disease, heart disease, blindness, and stroke. In addition, it is not uncommon for a long term diabetic to loose limbs to amputation because of poor circulation. Symptoms The presence of Diabetes is generally indicated by some combination of several symptoms. A diabetic will often experience unexplained: frequent need to urinate, especially if it is combined with extreme thirst, chronic hunger, especially between meals, fatigue, weight loss, and/or general feelings of irritability Many diabetics report dry, itchy skin and trouble with genital itching and fungal infections. A tingling sensation or numbness in the feet is another indication, as is blurred vision. Finally, the skin of many diabetics is slow to heal from wounds, skin abrasions, or so Continue reading >>
Focus On Disability
Diabetes can lead to disabling conditions because the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles. See also: Diabetes Herbal Therapies and Sugar Craving Products Diabetic Products Type 1 diabetes: It used to be called insulin-dependent diabetes and occurs when the body fails to produce insulin, the hormone required for controlling blood sugar levels. People with type 1 diabetes require regular insulin injections to correct this. All type 1 diabetes patients should have access to a qualified dietitian, as diet is an important part of their clinical care. Type 1 diabetes usually affects young people, often in childhood, and is the least common of the two forms of diabetes accounting for between five to 15 per cent of all people with this disease. Type 2 diabetes: This type of diabetes develops slowly. It's much more common than type 1 diabetes, accounting for at least 75 per cent of cases. Type 2 diabetes often develops later in life although cases in obese children and young adults are becoming more common. It's strongly related to being overweight. Diabetes is a life-long condition which you need to take seriously. Managing your diabetes well is a balancing act where you have to manage your medication (if you are taking any), with a healthy diet and physical activity. Whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, you should aim to eat a healthy diet and be as physically active as you can. The main difference in treating Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is the medication you receive. The management of diabetes m Continue reading >>
Can You Claim Disability Benefits If You Have Diabetes?
There’s a lot to take in when you, or someone you love, is diagnosed with diabetes. Finding out what benefits you might be entitled to, now or in future, may not be top of your to-do list so here’s a quick overview. Is diabetes a disability? Under the 2010 Equality Act, type 1 diabetes is defined as a disability, in that it may have a ‘substantial, long-term, negative impact on a person’s ability to carry out normal, day-to-day activities’. Many people with type 2 diabetes are also covered by this definition. The aim is protect you from discrimination, such as needing time out during the working day to check your blood sugar levels or recover from a 'hypo' (low blood sugar) episode. It sounds confusing, but if your diabetes is being controlled by medication or diet, the impact of your condition on ‘normal activities’ is decided as if you were not taking medication or following a managed diet i.e. if you were not taking insulin to treat type 1 diabetes, this would have a severe impact on your abilities (it could even be fatal) and so is considered a disability. What can I claim for? If you have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you will be eligible for certain benefits, depending on the extent to which your condition affects your life. For example, everyone in the UK with diabetes is entitled to free eye checks from the age of 12 – once yearly screening for diabetic retinopathy. And if you’re on any medication for your diabetes, you’ll receive free prescriptions. There are additional benefits available to those with diabetes related to disability and long-term health, such as if you need help or if you’re unable to work. Whether or not you’re eligible depends on factors like additional health issues and how much diabetes affects your day-to-day ac Continue reading >>
Money is often a problem, whether you're a student or have just started a job (people rarely start on decent salaries). You'll want to economise, but don't sacrifice your health for the sake of a slightly bigger bulge in your wallet. It's one thing you can't afford to do if you have diabetes. Life on a shoestring One big weekly shop at your supermarket will work out cheaper than lots of single trips to the local shops over the week.One big weekly shop at your supermarket will work out cheaper than lots of single trips to the local shops over the week. Bread, cereals, pasta and potatoes are relatively cheap and filling.Bread, cereals, pasta and potatoes are relatively cheap and filling. Look out for supermarket ‘own brands’ and in-house specials.Look out for supermarket ‘own brands’ and in-house specials. Some supermarkets sell produce at reduced prices near the end of the day (but always check the sell-by date).Some supermarkets sell produce at reduced prices near the end of the day (but always check the sell-by date). Market stalls are cheaper for fish, eggs, fruit and veg.Market stalls are cheaper for fish, eggs, fruit and veg. Buy some foods in bulk, such as pasta, potatoes, rice, dried beans and pulses.Buy some foods in bulk, such as pasta, potatoes, rice, dried beans and pulses. Frozen veg and tinned fruit are useful if you find fresh ones go off before you use them.Frozen veg and tinned fruit are useful if you find fresh ones go off before you use them. Beans and pulses are cheap, filling and as nutritious as meat or fish – they take more imagination to cook with, but it's worth it.Beans and pulses are cheap, filling and as nutritious as meat or fish – they take more imagination to cook with, but it's worth it. On prescription People with Type 1 diabet Continue reading >>
Uk Update – Type 2 Diabetes Controlled By Diet Is Not Automatically A Disability
This post was written by David Ashmore and Amy Treppass. In Metroline Travel v Stoute, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) decided that employees with type 2 diabetes controlled by diet (rather than medication) are not automatically protected by disability discrimination legislation. The Facts Mr Stoute was employed by Metroline and worked for them as a bus driver for 21 years. He suffered from type 2 diabetes. To keep his blood sugar levels low, he followed a low sugar diabetic diet which mainly consisted of avoiding soft drinks. On 11 March 2013, he arrived late at work and was dismissed for gross misconduct. He claimed that his late arrival at work was the result of diarrhoea, which was a consequence of his diabetes. Mr Stoute brought claims against Metroline of unfair dismissal, discrimination arising from disability, and failure to make reasonable adjustments. A preliminary hearing took place to determine if type 2 diabetes meant that he was disabled under the Equality Act 2010. The Employment Tribunal (“ET”) referred to a medical report where it was noted that for two periods of time, Mr Stoute was not taking medication which reduces blood sugar levels, but was following a controlled diet. In rendering its decision, the ET had regard to guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission on the definition of disability. The guidance provides that if a person suffers from an impairment and is undergoing treatment or correction for that impairment, then the impairment is to be treated as having a substantial adverse effect if, without the treatment or correction, the impairment was likely to have that effect. The ET decided that a controlled diet amounted to treatment or correction of an impairment, and that Mr Stoute was disabled within the meaning of Continue reading >>
Disability Discrimination Act (dda)
This is the executive summary of an excellent document prepared especially for diabetes-insight.org.uk by Lady J, one of the members of our forum, who is an employment lawyer by profession. The full document can be downloaded in .pdf format (see home page for a link to download Adobe reader should you require it). The Disability Discrimination Act is designed to stop discrimination against disabled people in the work place; In many cases, people with diabetes will be considered to be disabled for the purposes of the Act; Whether or not someone is disabled will depend on their own individual circumstances; The Act is designed to prevent four main types of discrimination: Direct discrimination (discrimination against someone because they have diabetes); Disability-related discrimination (discrimination against someone for a reason related to their diabetes for example, because they spend too much time away from their desk testing blood glucose); Failure to make reasonable adjustments (all employers must consider making reasonable adjustments for their disabled employees); and Victimisation (taking action against someone because they have complained of being discriminated against or because they have complained about a failure to make reasonable adjustments). The Act protects people from discrimination in employment at the stage of recruitment, whilst in employment and after their employment has ended; Disability-related discrimination is one of the more common forms of discrimination , but it may be justified in certain circumstances where, for example, it is not possible for the employer to employ the employee safely; Failure to make reasonable adjustments is also common. A reasonable adjustment could be time off to attend a clinic appointments, or provision of a clean, Continue reading >>
Hidden Disabilities: Pain Beneath The Surface
Hidden disabilities: Pain beneath the surface These are external links and will open in a new window Image caption Georgia took part in a campaign as a child to show life is not restricted by diabetes Imagine having to inject yourself thousands of times over the course of your lifetime, but never talking about it to anyone. Many people live with hidden disabilities - conditions which don't have physical signs but are painful, exhausting and isolating. Sympathy and understanding from others can often be in short supply. Simon Magnus, Georgia Macqueen Black, Erika North and Natasha Lipman explain what it's like to have a hidden disability, which some of your friends and family may silently be dealing with. He is the artistic director of arts charity Root Experience. It's taken me some time to properly "own" my dyslexia. It has been a source of shame and embarrassment for most of my life. In trying to conceal my condition, I have let people think I am lazy and disorganised. The truth is, I really can't get my ideas onto paper, and my fear and anxiety around "being unable to write" has stopped me from achieving things I wanted. I had a meeting recently and it was going well, then they asked me to do a written evaluation. It made my heart sink. I had to tell them that I couldn't do it. Eyebrows were raised, but I told them about my dyslexia and owned it. The outcome might not have been what I wanted, but it was a huge step for me. Provision for dyslexic people in everyday life is not available across the board yet, and nor is provision for those of us with anxiety or other hidden disabilities, but I hope they thought about it afterwards and perhaps, in the future, they might consider how they could work with someone like me. Invisible conditions are just different to how we Continue reading >>
Type 2 Diabetes May Be Considered A Disability In The Uk
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has ordered an employment tribunal to consider whether a person suffering from Type 2 diabetes was disabled on the basis that he suffered from a progressive condition – Doyle Clayton reports. Speedread The Employment Appeal Tribunal has overturned an employment tribunal’s decision that a man suffering from Type 2 diabetes was not disabled. The judge had not properly considered whether his Type 2 diabetes was a progressive condition. He should have considered whether the condition was likely to result in a substantial adverse effect on normal day to day activities and the medical evidence had been inadequate in this regard as it had not considered the future prognosis. It was also unclear whether the claimant’s conduct in relation to lifestyle, diet and exercise was a relevant factor when dealing with progressive conditions. It ordered the employment tribunal to reconsider whether he was suffering from a progressive condition. Background A person is disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities. A person may also be disabled if they suffer from a progressive condition resulting in an impairment which has an effect on their day to day activities, and which is likely to result in an impairment having a substantial adverse effect in the future. Facts In Taylor v Ladbrokes Betting and Gaming, Mr Taylor suffered from Type 2 diabetes. He was dismissed and claimed disability discrimination. A preliminary hearing was held to determine whether he was disabled. Based on written medical evidence, the employment judge ruled that he was not disabled. His condition was controlled by medication, but even without medication it would Continue reading >>
Is Type 2 Diabetes A Disability Under The Equality Act 2010?
Possibly, depending on the facts of the case and the medical evidence available. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) overturned an Employment Tribunal's (ET) finding that an employee with type 2 diabetes was not disabled under the Equality Act 2010 (EqA) in Taylor v Ladbrokes Betting and Gaming Ltd. Under the EqA a person has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment, and the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities. When considering what effect a particular condition has on day to day activities, the effect of any medication is ignored. However, if an individual can reasonably be expected to modify their behaviour to reduce the effects of an impairment, this will be taken into account and the individual may not fall within the definition of disability as a result. Under Paragraph 8 of Schedule 1 EqA, an employee will also be deemed to have a disability if they suffer from a progressive condition which does not have a substantive adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities, but this is likely to change in the future. The Facts Mr Taylor suffered from type 2 diabetes. He was dismissed from Ladbrokes on 4 November 2013 and brought claims of unfair dismissal and disability discrimination. At a preliminary hearing, the ET relied on written medical evidence provided by a consultant with a particular interest in diabetes and found that Mr Taylor was not disabled under the EqA. Mr Taylor appealed this decision to the EAT. The EAT's Decision The EAT Judge allowed Mr Taylor's appeal, finding that the ET had not properly addressed the question of whether type 2 diabetes could be regarded as a progressive condition under the EqA. The EAT Judge noted that: the Continue reading >>
To Tell Or Not To Tell?
A prospective employer isn’t normally allowed to ask you about your health or disability unless it’s strictly relevant to the tasks required of the job, or to make reasonable adjustments for you. It’s normally not essential that your work needs to know about your health unless it’s relevant to the tasks required in your job. But it’s important that your tell your employer about your type 1 diabetes if you want them to make reasonable adjustments, like taking breaks to check your blood glucose or treat hypos. Any medical information your employer holds about you is subject to strict data protection law. It’s up to you whether you want to tell your work colleagues about your type 1 diabetes. If you choose to tell them, you should be prepared for them asking questions or making comments, some of which may seem inappropriate. This is because many people don’t understand what type 1 diabetes means or they assume it’s treated in the same way as type 2 diabetes. Talking about how you developed your type 1 diabetes and how you treat it, can be helpful. Job interviews Again, it’s you choice whether you tell your prospective employers, but it does sometime have its drawbacks. While people with type 1 diabetes are able to do any job, some employers may be reluctant to employ someone with the condition due to misconceptions. For example, they may wrongly assume that people with type 1 diabetes can’t do a job that requires regular driving. It is possible to turn type 1 diabetes into a positive. People with type 1 have to be aware of the time, keep to a routine, follow a healthy lifestyle and attend regular clinic appointments. These are all qualities which demonstrate responsibility, self-discipline and organisational skills – traits that employers seek when re Continue reading >>
Diabetes At Work: How To Avoid Disability Discrimination
Diabetes will increasingly present a challenge at work as the number of people with the condition rises and more employees could be viewed as disabled. Akshay Choudhry, an associate at Burges Salmon, considers the implications. According to NHS Choices, 3.9 million people in the UK now suffer from diabetes. By 2025, this figure is expected to rise to five million; equating to more than 1 in 13 people. As it grows as a public health threat, diabetes at work will increasingly present a challenge as more employees could be viewed as disabled As many will know, there are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. It is the latter type that is on the rise due to its link with lifestyle factors such as obesity and unhealthy diets. While the European Court of Justice (ECJ) decided last year, in Karsten Kaltoft v Kommunernes Landsforening, that obesity itself is not a protected characteristic for the purposes of discrimination, its consequential effects – such as type 2 diabetes – can amount to a disability. Diabetes and disability discrimination resources While a diagnosis of diabetes does not automatically mean that an individual is disabled, those with the condition may qualify as disabled under the Equality Act if they meet the statutory test. In essence, it is the degree to which the diabetes impacts on the employee’s ability to carry out their day-to-day activities that determines whether or not they are afforded protection. Applying the disability test to diabetes The Act, which is supported by guidance on what can be taken into account in determining disability (the guidance), suggests that when determining whether or not the test of disability is met: if a condition is treated or corrected, the effect of that treatment or correction should be ignored when ass Continue reading >>
Social Security Disability For Diabetes (type I Or Type Ii)
Diabetes happens when the body doesn't produce enough insulin to process glucose. Diabetes can often be controlled with treatment -- a combination of medication and diet. As a person gets older, sometimes diabetes can't be controlled, and then it can cause damage to internal organs and other problems. Symptoms and Complications of Adult Diabetes Symptoms of both diabetes type 1 and diabetes type 2 include frequent urination, unusual thirst and hunger, and extreme fatigue. People with type 2 diabetes also can suffer from tingling or numbness in the hands and feet, frequent infections, and cuts that are slow to heal. Complications from diabetes include: retinopathy (eye and vision problems) nephropathy (kidney disease) neuropathy (nerve damage) in feet or hands that disrupts your ability to stand, walk, or use your hands hypertension (high blood pressure) gastroparesis (a type of nerve damage that interferes with digestion) peripheral arterial disease (reduced blood flow to your limbs) cellulitis (skin infections), and Qualifying for Disability Benefits with Diabetes If you have uncontrolled diabetes and you have been prevented from working for at least 12 months, or you expect that you won't be able to work for at least 12 months, then you may be eligible for Social Security disability (SSDI/SSD) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. But to qualify for disability benefits, the damage caused by your diabetes must severely limit what you can do, or you must have complications that fulfill the requirements of one of Social Security's disability listings. If your diabetes is uncontrolled because you don't follow your doctor's prescribed treatment, you won't be eligible for disability. For more information, see our article on failing to comply with treatmen Continue reading >>
Diabetes Type 2 Is Not A Disability Says The Appeal Tribunal
In the recent case of Metroline Travel Ltd v Stoute, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has found that diet-controlled Type 2 diabetes does not amount to a disability under the Equality Act 2010. Mr Stoute had been dismissed for gross misconduct from his job as a bus driver. He suffered from Type 2 diabetes, controlled by following a diabetic diet which involved abstaining from sugary food and drinks. Failure to do so could result in a hypoglycaemic episode. When Mr Stoute was dismissed he brought claims for unfair dismissal, disability discrimination, and a failure to make reasonable adjustments. At a preliminary hearing, the employment tribunal held that Mr Stoute suffered from a disability within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010 and, in reaching its decision, referred to paragraph B12 of the Equality Act Guidance, which states: “where an impairment is subject to treatment or correction, the impairment is to be treated as having a substantial adverse effect if, but for the treatment or correction, the impairment is likely to have that effect.” The employment tribunal felt that abstaining from sugary foods and drinks could be deemed to be a form of correction. Notwithstanding the decision that Mr Stoute was disabled, his substantive claims were subsequently dismissed. His employer, Metroline, nevertheless appealed against the decision on disability because they were concerned that other members of their workforce who had Type 2 diabetes might be encouraged to make claims on this basis. The EAT held that the employment tribunal was wrong to conclude that Mr Stoute (and, as a result, anyone with diet-controlled Type 2 diabetes) is disabled. It did not agree that abstaining from sugary foods/drinks could be regarded as “treatment or correction” or a substant Continue reading >>
Can Type 2 Diabetes Be A Disability?
Posted on Jan 20, 2017 in Employment by Noele McClelland According to Diabetes UK, there are now 3.9 million people in the UK who are diagnosed with diabetes, and an anticipated 1.1 million currently undiagnosed. Type 2 diabetes is by far the most common type, with an estimated 90% of diabetics suffering from Type 2. In light of these alarming statistics, are employers required to make reasonable adjustments for type 2 diabetics in the workplace? Disability is one of the nine “protected characteristics” covered by the Equality Act 2010 (“the Act”). It is unlawful for an employer to treat those with disabilities less favourably than those without. In addition, employers have an obligation to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees. The Act contains principles that employers should follow in their treatment of employees with disabilities. The Act defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial long-term effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. The Act does not refer to an exhaustive list of what will be considered as normal day-to-day activities, and rather will be determined on an individual basis. Applying common sense however, in the workplace, examples could include using a telephone or computer, writing, interacting with colleagues or following instructions. Similarly, what is considered to be a substantial and long term effect, is a question of fact and evidence but the Act provides the following guidance. The term “substantial” effect is an effect which is more than minor or trivial and an impairment will be treated as having a substantial adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities if, measures are being taken to treat or c Continue reading >>