4 reasons you might consider disclosing your T1D at work
This post is an excerpt taken from Straight to the Point: A guide for living with type 1 diabetes, written and edited by healthcare professionals as part of our 2022: Kick T1D goals campaign. Download the full version for free here.
It goes without saying: your medical information is confidential. Your decision about whether or not to disclose your type 1 diabetes (T1D) to your employer or colleagues is personal, and will depend on your work circumstances and what you are comfortable with.
However, there are a few specific situations where it may be more important to consider. So, we’re sharing 4 reasons you might consider disclosing your T1D at work. Here they are:
1. You could benefit from special accommodations
You may require more regular meal or snack breaks or a private location where you can check your blood glucose or inject insulin. Workplace law requires employers to take reasonable steps to accommodate your needs, and disclosing your diabetes may help to reach a process that is appropriate and that you are comfortable with.
2. Your T1D might have safety implications for others
You may work in a position where your diabetes may have safety implications for your work colleagues or the general public (e.g. if you drive public transport or are a police officer). Being open and honest about your diabetes can prevent you from experiencing complications once you are employed.
3. You have professional strengths because of it
It is possible to turn your diabetes into a positive. People with diabetes have to be aware of the time, keep to a routine, follow a healthy lifestyle and attend for regular diabetes review. These are all qualities which demonstrate responsibility, self-discipline and organisational skills – traits that employers seek when recruiting.
Emphasising this at an interview can be to your advantage.
4. You want to correct misconceptions
While it can seem embarrassing to bring your diabetes into the conversation at work, it could help to correct common misconceptions. For example, colleagues may misinterpret signs of hypoglycaemia and assume you are drunk or being rude if they’re unaware you live with diabetes. Informing them can act as an educational tool.
If you decide to tell your colleagues or employer about your diabetes, you should be prepared for them to ask questions or make comments, which at times may seem inappropriate. Usually, this is because they don’t understand what having type 1 diabetes means, and talking about how you developed diabetes, and how it is treated, can be incredibly helpful and may result in a more supportive working environment.
For more information about disclosing type 1 diabetes at work, download ‘Straight to the Point’, a guide for adults living with type 1 diabetes.
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