People With Diabetes Are Being Discriminated Against At Work

In Individual, Industry News by PCH Staff

People in the UK who are living with diabetes are not getting the support they need and are, in fact, sometimes, being discriminated at work because of their condition, a new survey has found.

According to the research by Diabetes UK, one in six people in the UK with diabetes says they have been discriminated against by their employer, while a third of people living with the condition say they experience lack of support and understanding from colleagues in the workplace.

The survey of 10,000 people also found that more than one third (37%) of respondents said their diabetes had caused them difficulty at work. More worrying, though, is the fact 7% had not even told their employer about their condition. While it is not essential for people with diabetes to inform their employer that they have the condition, doing so could help to prevent any misunderstandings that might occur during the course of their employment.

To avoid complications, people with diabetes need to have regular health checks, regularly test their blood sugar and take medication for their condition.

A quarter of people surveyed said that they would like time off work for diabetes-related appointments, as well as the ability to take regular breaks from their work in order to take diabetes-related medication or test their blood sugar level.

Greater Understanding and Flexibility Is Needed

Helen Dickens, Assistant Director of Campaigns and Mobilisation at Diabetes UK, said a lack of employer understanding could potentially be life-threatening for those with diabetes.

“We heard from people who had to give up their jobs in order to manage their condition safely. Discrimination and difficulties come about because employers lack knowledge about diabetes and do not understand its impact.

“We need to talk more about the condition and the many ways it affects people’s lives in order to persuade places of work to offer greater understanding and flexibility. Everyone deserves to work in an environment where they can ask for the support they need,” she added.

The charity is hoping the research will start a conversation about managing long-term health conditions in the workplace.

Diabetes affects more than 2.2 million people of working age in the UK and it is thought that around one million more people in the UK are living with undiagnosed diabetes. Not having routine health checks or not taking medication on time can lead to devastating complications, such as stroke, amputations, heart disease, kidney failure and even early death.

Oftentimes, people with diabetes do not consider themselves as having a disability. However, in many cases, they will be considered as having a disability under the Equality Act 2010. It is another reason why people with the condition should inform their employers so allowances can be made accordingly and their work/role is not adversely impacted.


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