Hypoglycemia and Work Suspension

Several months ago, I was at work and became hypoglycemic. I went and told my supervisor they needed to send me on my break immediatly. She informed me that I could go in approx. 20 minutes, when the other lady came back.
My manager came back and told me to either drink some OJ, or eat some candies because they could not send me on break at that time.
Today it happened again. I was talking and then I was told I became drunk acting. Stumbling into walls, etc. I went and took a Klonopin (as I have anxiety and panic attacks). The panic attack kept coming so I went and took another one and then a third one.
My Manager noticed I was stumbling around and asked me if I was drunk. I told her no, and she said clock out and leave the premises.
She told me to call her back at 5:00.
One of my coworkers noticed this and told another coworker (who is diabetic), and she realized what was happening. She gave me juice, candy, and peanut butter crackers.
When I called my Manager back she asked what was going on with me, and I explained the low sugar reaction. She then told me since I did not tell anybody I put myself at risk as well as my coworkers. Therefore I was suspended until Friday.
Is this legal and what can I do about it?

Views: 123

Tags: ADA, Disrmination, Workplace, legal

Comment by Domo! on June 28, 2009 at 10:25pm
i believe it is your right not to tell the other employees, but your boss needs to know and be aware of what to do when such things happen.They have to make accommodations for you, my only concern would be in what conditions (for example a busy restaurant where everybody is needed but you need to check your sugar, etc) Maybe go over her head if you have to. Also there was no way you could "tell anybody" unless she's referring to the fact that you weren't able to speak, when you were having your reaction.(of course you couldn't!).
http://www.diabetes.org/advocacy-and-legalresources/discrimination/employment/jobrights.jsp
good luck, and remember no matter what she says against you and your diabetes just remember that you have rights and needs.
Comment by Domo! on June 28, 2009 at 10:26pm
also i would start calling some people (human resources) as soon as you can, maybe you could get paid for your supsension.
Comment by Kristy on June 28, 2009 at 10:59pm
Here is a good article from the EEOC because it explains how the ADA determines what is a disability. I noticed you work in a restaurant and this is what the article applies too but I would imagine it could apply to any industry. Read in particular #5 which is about being a "direct threat" to yourself and you co-workers. EEOC.gov You may also want to contact the EEOC as well as the ADA. Depending on what your job duties are though it sounds like it is legal to suspend or terminate as well as probably transfer on the basis that someone else could have been hurt as a result of your low blood sugar.
Comment by Anonymous Diabetic on June 28, 2009 at 11:56pm
WOW WAY WRONG ACROSS THE BOARD!!! The laws change depending on where you live but the general bottom line is that diabetes is recognized in law as a disability under the Human Rights Code. Said another way, your manager might as well have told you to leave without pay based on the colour of your skin. This is without question harassment and discrimination (which is illegal) and to some extent they can get away with it, but not forever and that depends on you.

The part that haunts me is the managers position when he/she said "You didn't tell anyone". I believe you do have to tell them because they are not psychic and must be told. The question is did they know? AND the bottom line is that they know now, and they chose to discipline you.

This tells me they don't like you, and did not ask what you may need in the future. This troubles me because they took the oppurtunity to avoid taking responsibility, and have yet to do so at this point and followed it up with discipline. This is sneaky and ridiculous which are very bad indicators as to the future.

It is in most cases (again check the laws in your state) the duty of your employer is to "reasonably accomodate" and if breaks are required and are not excessive, this is in fact reasonable. You may want to feel them out however the story at this point is not good. You have been disciplined for having a disability. I know some people don't like that word but this is the language of the law, and you may have to ensure it is followed and it is not always easy. I have been there before, and am in fact there right now. It's not an asset right?

Make it a point to "officially" tell them and ask what they need from YOUR doctor. Get a note from your doctor immediately with whatever requirements you may think you need. Be completely honest about ALL of the above and get ready this may get ugly. You are entitled to do your "maintainence" and the onus is generally on the employer to ensure the health and safety of both you and your coworkers. They should be ashamed for blaming and harassing you, but clearly they are not. They may get really dumb (code word for wrongful dismissul) but don't worry and go one step at a time.

The easy part is that diabetes is so awful all you have to do is tell the truth, and remember this is ALL of our credibility on the line. My control is relatively tight, and people have no idea how often others run with sugars higher than they should. They want me to do what they think is O.K. and is the least trouble for them.

What they have done is wrong, and they owe you the money AND reasonable accomodation for your disability as long as you are employed there. Everyone's health and safety depends on it, and that is THIER job. If you are interested check out www.oprah.com/community/community/health/diabetes and look for Diabetes The Real Cost Chapter Thirteen/Diabetes At Work.

Your going to have to make some tough choices here, but you must find out exactly what the law is where you live. The ADA only make recomendations, they do not make or enforce laws. This is not the first or last time this has happened. Enforcing it can be a nightmare however take it one step at a time, try to be reasonable with H.R. and you may very quietly have a quick chat with a lawyer, because we don't know if this will be an isolated incident. Let's hope so.

If you have a union that may help and regardless get a doctors note and see if they ask OR, you may want to offer it and they may not like this because then they will know you know, you know???. H.R. holds most of the cards, but not all of them. You are not done yet but confronting a bully is always tricky so be as nice as possible. You can always turn up the heat later and try and be reasonable however it may not work so be cool, and get ready for anything. Keep us posted and I will help you if I can.

Love Always
The Anonymous Diabetic.
Comment by Anonymous Diabetic on June 29, 2009 at 12:04am
MY APOLOGIES ON THE LAW IT IS THE ADA THAT LOOKS AFTER THAT however all the same rules apply. I am in another country so it's a different body however, you have been wronged and let's see if they help.

Love Always!!!!!!!!!!

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