Saturday, 5 September 2015

Type 2 Diabetes- Advice from the Union

A recent Employment Appeal Tribunal judgment was widely reported as ruling that Type 2 Diabetes was not covered by the Disability Discrimination provisions of the Equality Act.  This is a misrepresentation of the judgment, which applied to the very specific facts of that case. 

As advised by the NUT in the May-June edition of The Teacher to a teacher who wrote:
"Is it true that diet-controlled type 2 diabetes is considered a disability? I have type 2 diabetes and my school has made a number of adjustments which allow me to regularly check my blood-sugar during school hours and also to take breaks when I’m feeling tired. I’m afraid these adjustments may be taken away unless my condition is protected by law?"
It is true that earlier this year the Employment Appeal Tribunal decided that an appellant, who had diet-controlled type 2 diabetes, was not disabled within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010. The decision is, of course, very nuanced and is relevant only to the particular facts of the case. Type 2 diabetes is a very serious condition that, if undiagnosed and treated, may lead to heart, blood vessel, nerve, eye and kidney damage. In certain circumstances, it may even lead to death.
You are entitled to reasonable adjustments at work if any of the symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes – such as extreme tiredness, unexplained weight loss, increased thirst and blurred vision – place you at a substantial disadvantage in comparison to teachers without the condition. Your employer is also prohibited from treating you unfavourably for reasons relating to the condition, regardless of how you manage your symptoms.
If you have type 2 diabetes or any other health condition which is having a more than minor impact on your ability to teach, and you want advice about what the Union can do to help, contact the NUT Adviceline.  You can download the NUT's briefing document on Diabetes in School here

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