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My husband has had diabetes for almost 50 years and has been working at the same job for 26 years. All his evaluations in the past have been very good, but last year he got a new supervisor who is not very considerate with him. She has written three evaluations in the last six months, complaining about his job performance. I will write the quotation that she wants for him to do:

Last September you and I discussed if there was anything that prevent you for completing your duties as outlined. That day, you told me about a health condition (diabetes) that you have had for approximately 50 years. I had asked you to outline in writing those health issues and the impact it has on your job. Please forward this response to me by December 1. I will continue to monitor your performance for the next 90 days and will re-evaluate your status in that time.

As a wife I can tell you that my husband is a hard worker, very responsible and even sometimes he doesn't feel okay he is at work, he works more hours than others and he never ask for money. I feel she wants him to give up and leave. I know he is strong, and he is not leaving his job. If you have some suggestions on what to do, please let us know.


I see two issues here. The first is an attempt by management to create grounds for a change in employment status of an employee by documenting claims of poor performance. I will not comment on the employee claims of past good performance as it does not bear on this discussion. The second issue is the possibility that the impact of the employee's diabetes has in the performance of the job and what if any rights accrue to the employee under the American With Disabilities Act.

The reason management is seeking information on the impact diabetes has on the job is that it could or might create a requirement of reasonable accommodation on the part of the employer so that the employee may continue to perform the duties of the position. Clearly, here management is looking to terminate this employee. In some, but not all, cases claiming that the "poor" performance is due to disability can force management to make reasonable accommodation thus forestalling any change in employment status.

My advice is that if the employee wants to save their job is to seek legal advice from an attorney with proven expertise in labor law and the application of the Americans With Disabilities Act. I advise this because the nuances of the ADA can change in many employment settings and that an attorney well versed in this highly technical area will have the most expertise as to whether or not it is a good idea to disclose all of the impact diabetes and any other chronic disease is having on the employee's work.


Additional comments from :

What does he feel he could not do due to having diabetes? People can fly planes, serve as air traffic controllers. We need more information on his medications and daily self management schedule. Remember the protection under the Americans with disability act. Information is available on the American Diabetes Association site on this act.


[Editor's comment: I would also contact your local ADA affiliate for assistance with this matter. SS]

Original posting 27 Nov 2001
Posted to Other Social Issues


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:28
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