Given the “skyrocketing” incidence of diabetes, all employers should know as much as possible about diabetes and its effect on the workplace, and the basics of the Americans With Disabilities Act (the “ADA”).
We just read a great article printed in Law.com written by Monique C.M. Leahy and the editors at Medical Law Perspectives entitled “Diabetes on the Rise: What Employers Need To Know To Avoid Claims.” A must read, at least for HR professionals and business owners.
The article states that: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a report finding that more than 29 million people in the United States have diabetes, up from the previous estimate of 26 million in 2010. … 9.3% of the population have diabetes … and [i]n 2012, diabetes and its related complications accounted for $245 billion in total medical costs and lost work and wages.”
Moreover, “approximately 79 million adults are at risk of developing diabetes. … [and] 15 to 30% of people with pre-diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years. People with diabetes are at increased risk of serious health complications including vision loss; heart disease; stroke; kidney failure; amputation of toes, feet or legs; and premature death.”
This is catastrophic medical problem and one that seemingly will only get worse as the population ages unless people develop better dietary and exercise habits, and decrease their consumption of junk food. Easier said than done.
But getting back to the article: It discusses diabetes as a disability (see our post of February 8, 2012 — it has not always been considered a disability for purposes of employer accommodation), disability discrimination claims, workers comp, and other related issues in a very comprehensive way.
Use this article as a starting point to develop an understanding of the ADA, as well as a comprehensive set of employment and training policies – which are always recommended.