Job Performance and Diabetes

diabetesAn employer can exclude someone with diabetes from a job when the worker poses a “direct threat” – what the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission calls “a significant risk of substantial harm to the individual or others that cannot be eliminated or reduced through reasonable accommodation.” According to the commission, an employer who knows about a worker’s disability can require the worker to undergo a medical evaluation if the employer has observed performance issues and “reasonably believes” the issues are connected to the medical condition.

The National Diabetes Education Program’s “Diabetes at Work” project offers the following scenario as an example: A supervisor may ask an ironworker to undergo an exam or submit information from his doctor stating that he can safely do his job after the worker, who said he has diabetes, sweats and shakes during a break from hoisting iron beams.

In certain industries, guidance and standards help determine whether workers with diabetes can perform a job. For example, law enforcement officers with diabetes are expected to be evaluated on an individual basis. And the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration currently requires commercial motor vehicle drivers with insulin-treated diabetes mellitus to obtain an exemption every two years. However, the agency issued a notice of proposed rulemaking in May that would ease the exemption requirements for CMV drivers who can show they have their diabetes under control.


The above is an excerpt from,”Diabetes and worker safety.” For more information please visit, www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com.

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