Had a very bizarre, unfortunate experience the other day.
I work as a "specialist" at a large summer camp in my region. In the course of the day, we work with 500+ kids (3yo to 8th grade), in small groups.
I was done with my morning groups and went to the gigantic lunch tent for the first lunch wave. The specialists, sit at tables at the edge of the tent, and let the counselors get their groups fed at their tables.
I got my food, did some mental math sat with my specialist "peers", a small group of 5 adults and shot what I needed, through my camp tee shirt under the table. The discussions were the usual unimportant stuff; home life, outside work, movies. I asked some questions, listened and went back to my area, to prepare for my next wave of kids.
Later that afternoon my unit supervisor came to my pavilion. We had worked together before, at different locations many times. Quietly approaching, he asked if I had a minute because he had a "request" from a senior camp administrator, an unnamed superior to both of us.
She "requested" I NOT shoot (use) insulin in the lunch tent anymore.
One of my "professional" peers... supposedly was bothered/offended by my injection. Not visible to the children in any way. I had quietly dialed the dose, removed the pen/needle covers and shot through my camp tee shirt underneath the picnic table top. I did it in seconds, The conversations around me never stopped, or paused.
With visible disgust, I attempted to learn the source of the complaint. Politely he refused to name the administrator(s). He apologized repeatedly for needing to make the request. He was literally the messenger. I told him I guess they were very lucky I did not have Asthma, and it was "only diabetes" instead.
Diabetes is ok to have but, only as long as its treatment is "not in front of me", N.I.F.O.M. ???
So my diabetic peers, elders, friends is this discrimination? What clever ways would you approach it?
I said that on a school trip once. The person really quickly shut up haha. Idk how that would fly with a manager though.
The plus side is that you can sue the manager for discrimination and violating the Americans With Disabilities Act, etc. Probably a bunch of stuff. One of my friends used to do that sort of law and found it frustrating as, even when he had a good case, there wasn't a lot of "damage" but I'm sure it would bury the manager in paperwork and rub their nose in it.
hard not to be annoyed at it! Another sad part is how this 'superior' has asked someone below them to tell you. A real manager would atleast ask you face to face to not inject. All this manager has done is made themselves out to be cowardly. We have a manager at work like this too. Gets the 2 IC to direct the wrist slapping on his behalf. And none of us respect this person because they refuse to 'man up' if they have issues.
Your in a hard situation because, rightly or wrongly, its a boss. A spineless boss, but, hard to be pro-active without further investigation into your rights as a first point of call.
Cut and pasted from the link above:
Common Reasonable Accommodations for Individuals with Diabetes
It would take a dim-witted administrator to not see that the obvious solution is to permit Stuart to discreetly take his insulin at the table or anywhere he darn well pleases. If I were Stuart I would not shoot through my t-shirt and risk a blood stain and further embarrassment. But that's just me.
I am pretty certain that the point of "reasonable accomodations" is that they can't require "discretion". They can stuff it.
Emotionally, they certainly can... and should.
Now that being said, I need work, and as many glowing recommendations, spectacular job reviews I can acquire, if I must swallow my contempt, disgust... I do.
Were it longer term job, or a position far more administrative, I would not swallow anything.
I love TimmyMac and jrtpup's suggestions!
Here's what I would do - I would go back to your manager and inform him that the ADA offers people with diabetes certain protections in the workplace. One of those protections is the ability to treat your condition as you see fit. You did nothing wrong by administering insulin when and where you did and he needs to understand that. He also needs to understand that HE did something wrong by calling you out the way he did. What he should have done was inform the person who made the complaint that you were doing nothing wrong to begin with and that if he/she had an issue, they were free to not look or leave the table.
I do not like pulling the ADA trump card, but I have done so on more than one occasion in attempt to educate someone about my rights. On the rare occasion where I have had to bring up the ADA, I remind the person I'm speaking with that while I'm not taking any legal action, the next person might, so they had better be aware of these issues. In most cases, I've found that people are just ignorant to what the ADA means, especially with regard to something like T1D. They assume the ADA applies to things like wheelchair ramps and physical disabilities, and not something like T1D. My goal is always EDUCATION and that means not getting angry or condescending, but rather just teaching someone the facts. I generally find that this is well-received and results in getting the job done. Again, most people aren't even aware that they are doing anything wrong. I know as a manager I have made plenty of mistakes (with the best of intentions), and that sounds exactly like what your manager did.
i am so shocked by this behavior, perhaps you could do a training on increased empathy for others, so sadly missing in today's world. so sad that your boss has to speak with you at all about this he/ she should of handled it directly with the person in question, because their behavior was so insensitive and off target. it should of been stopped right there, ' excuse me so and so but if you have a problem with stuart caring for his life threatening medical problem in a very discrete way then actually this is your problem and please look away, sit at another table etc.' this is how management should operate with common sense and compassion! i hope you realize this incident was all the other insensitive individual's problem and clearly not yours! best of luck, it's hard enough dealing with the day to day stuff then this!! you are stronger and clearly the grown up in this, hope things have resolved and you are still shooting up in public!!! amy
Hi Stuart! I am so very sorry this happened. Firstly, I am sad this happened because it was hurtful to you. Also, I think about what a horrible message this unnamed administrator is sending to the kids. You mentioned your shot wasn't visible to the kids, but I don't think you should have to worry about that either. Out of those 500+ kids, one of them must know a diabetic. From the posting it sounds like the kids were out of the loop on this, but I wonder about the scenerio that maybe it turns out that one kid saw you at camp taking your shot and being ok and later diabetes touches that kid's life and he remembers seeing you and gains strength from it. All people should be taught and reminded to be tolerant and empathetic with each other. I am quite positive you are a wonderful specialist and a true gift to this camp. You shouldn't have to leave the tent for any reason. You should be right where you belong - at the table being an incredible teacher and a great mentor.
I am so sorry this happened to you. However, you can use this as an opportunity to edicate some misguided people.
A link to various reasons why it is necessary to test and manage your diabetes in public (USA)
Sorry to hear this but it's just life and it's really not about the Bete's, you just got bullied by someone. Your choices are simple, do nothing or fight back. If you like the job you may need to consider it part of what you are willing to put up with. There are not many perfect jobs where all of our coworkers are best friends. Maybe your a threat to one or more of your coworkers. I think the injection deal was just a little weak...JMHO
I have managed 500+ employees and at times have had several T1D's on my staff, I have a soft spot in my heart for PWD's. Your employer is required to supply you with a clean place to inject your insulin , a place to eat and a couch to lay down...but the other 99.9% of the employees also have rights and they are not required to participate or view finger sticks or injections...I know it's not the best way for a PWD to dose their insulin but we are just a few in a sea of non PWD's.