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Hypo at work

Discussion in 'Jobs and Employment' started by Betic84, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. Betic84

    Betic84 · Newbie

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    had a hypo early last year in the office. Had to be treated by paramedics to bring me round.
    It’s now over 18 month since this happened only both my line manager and department manager are still throwing in my face every opportunity they get. Is this some sort of harassment? I’ve even been told they given me allowances for the hypo last year.
    Normally I would steamroll into them but I’m starting to feel they have some underlying issue with diabetics.
    I’m planning to talk to my HR team about this but wondered if anyone has come up against anything like this and how they approached it?
    Any advice would be much appreciated.
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  2. kitedoc

    kitedoc Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi @Betic84, Sorry to hear of your experience. Hypos can be embarrassing and any reminders from others is, in my view, a form of discrimination. I am speaking as a type 1 diabetic of 52 years who has dealt with management and HR in various jobs in Australia regarding my work conditions and complaints, but not from any professional viewpoint.
    You would need to take the issue up with your HR department or if becoming more serious and not sorted by HR then I guess with lawyer well versed in industrial law. A local chapter of Diabetes UK might have some knowledge to share as well.
    Also your union if you are a member can provide assistance.
    With any approach to HR I would suggest taking a support person with you. That person is an observer who can witness what is said and also my observations to share with you latter. 4 eyes are better than 2 in seeing what facial expressions and phrases of speech are used and in remembering what was said so that any minutes made of the meeting a given to you can be verified or corrected. Biases in recording of minutes are legion. I have even requested meetings be tape recorded in the past after a particularly biased set of minutes are produced from one meeting. Whether that support person is a union rep or an independent friend is up to you.
    Prepare well beforehand. A list of instances with persons present, what was said, where and when, and any witnesses is important to add substance to your compliant. And also why and how what was said, and the way it was said, distressed you. You can have notes to prompt you or make out a list and insist it be tabled as part of the meeting.
    Provide information to assist HR. Pamphlets which can educate persons about what hypoglycaemia is, how it feels, what is done about it. As a slightly humorous aside: I recall seeing Diabetes Australia giving out lunchbox stickers for diabetic children: the stickers read: "I am diabetic, so do not pinch my lunch".
    Try to have one solution or more to address the problem: HR personnel often ask for what ways could the matter be solved. This is a way of acknowledging that as the bringer of the complaint you have an important perspective on what might make things better. So, would providing educational pamphlets to staff about diabetes, and maybe include epilepsy and other ailments that may require some immediate assistance whilst awaiting ambulance etc help? If I have a hypo I am most grateful if someone stops me falling down the stairs, injuring myself with misuse of scissors or other equipment, etc.
    Emphasising that I am doing my very best to avoid hypos happening, testing, following medical advice etc. is important also - it shows good faith, willingness to improve the situation and not be blaming others for things which I am responsible for doing the best I can.
    And one has to hope that employees in a workplace will not see their fellow workers come to grief. And HR and management I am sure will have views on that which could be requested.
    Occupational Health and Safety become an issue here also. Your workplace will be under some obligation via such laws to ensure your safety. This can be a double edged sword in that some occupations carry risks that a hypo could maker more risky and does the organisation make changes to ensure safety or press you into a medical examination to see whether you are fit for work? Certainly a lawyer's advice might be needed.
    I hope the matter can be sorted amicably and fairly. I have had a few people over the years go from cynical, teasing bigots to fast friends once the whole matter of hypos can been put to them.
    Best Wishes.
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  3. Tipetoo

    Tipetoo Type 2 · Expert

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    Have a read of this page regarding workplace discrimination, diabetes is covered under the law in the UK.

    • Informative Informative x 1
  4. DCUKMod

    DCUKMod I reversed my Type 2 · Master
    Staff Member Administrator

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    Hi @Betic84 - I'd very much agree with @kitedoc with respect to preparation, on two fronts, before you do anything.

    Firstly, look yourself in the mirror and ensure you are managing your T1 to the best of your abilities, and if there is something you struggle with, seek help for that. That way you know your diabetes is in good shape.

    Secondly, to go to HR and be taken seriously, you need to be specific about what has happened, or is happening, with dates times, specific instances. Going to HR with, "they're standing in my way" will result in a response of something like, "How exactly?"

    Yes, HR have a duty to listen to you, but if you make a hazy allegation, they have nowhere to go to support you. They would likely ask your line management what was going on and they'd deny any wrong-doing.

    You should be having reasonable adjustments apply to you for issues you experience with your t1, but those need you to be doing your bit too. I'm not suggesting you aren't doing your bit, but you will be the one under scrutiny in that regard. If your employer can demonstrate they have made reasonable adjustments and you were to appear not to be playing your part, you're on a sticky wicket.

    It's not easy, but preparation is crucial.
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  5. LauraNicholson88

    LauraNicholson88 Type 1 · Newbie

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    I have been a type 1 diabetic for 25 years and earlier this year, through no fault of my own, ended up being hospitalised with DKA, only to be told by my boss at a later date "other people have health issues, and they just get on with it", needless to say I am now going through a formal bullying investigation (there have been other remarks too) it's pure discrimination & lack of understanding about the severity of diabetes.
    I hope you get yours resolved easier than mine, but I'd definitely go to HR about it.

    Laura x
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  6. bmtest

    bmtest · Well-Known Member

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    It's sad that we are in 2018 and this sort of attitude exists towards diabetics, basically it's lack of education that's behind the line and department manager attitude.

    It's all strategy in the workplace and it depends on the setup of your organisation and the people involved, sometimes a quiet word is needed and nip it in the bud before it escalates.

    It maybe best next time they mention it is to deal with it direct and say look it happened lets leave it in the past where it belongs but as my manager I need to know you understand the situation and support me whatever as well as apprecaiting as to why it happened and going forward what support are you going to give me.

    HR route is good if you want to use that route no doubt they will have a form for this sort of thing and the solution could be to put the 2 managers on a first aid course as they seem to need it.
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  7. squeezelouise400

    squeezelouise400 Type 1 · Active Member

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    You are protected from discrimination like the type you are experiencing by the Equality Act 2010. The two 'braincells' who have discrimated against you are the ones who need lawyers. I suggest you document times and dates and take it to HR. If HR fail to come up with a good enough solution, then you have the option to seek legal advice. The choice is ultimatly yours, and life can be hard enough with T1 diabetes, I know as I have been blessed with it for the past 36 years. You should not have to deal with that sort of attitude from anyone regrdless of who they are.
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  8. Robinredbreast

    Robinredbreast Type 1 · Oracle

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    It is a sad fact that discrimination still goes on. I know that now, as I started a new job on Friday, I only worked 2 days, it was very busy, lost of cleaning of cabinets( a Jewelry shop which specializes in Art Deco and Art Nouveau and I had a hypo on both days, which I was aware of and treated quickly.
    Late last night @10.41 pm, I received a text message from the shop owner :-

    (My name) I am very sorry but I don't think this job is suitable for you, this shopping Centre has a footfall of 22 million a year and we are right in the middle of it, it will be very stressful especially at this time of year. Please send me your bank accounts details....... I will pay you for the 8 hours worked ( I actually worked 9, which now has been amended) I hope you find suitable employment soon.
    Name of owner. I replied to that, then received another text message this morning.

    I had no inclination that this was going to happen, totally out of the blue, we even discussed the hours and times I was going to do. I am gutted, to say the least and was so upset last night. I have contacted Diabetes UK by phone, spoke to a very helpful lady, she took down notes about what happened, so the Advocacy Service will call me in 3 to 5 days time.
    I am devastated, unemployed and having to look for a job again :(
    • Hug Hug x 5
    #8 Robinredbreast, Nov 13, 2018 at 2:55 PM
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
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