Accommodating diabetes in the workplace
For example, if an employer asks all applicants post-offer about their general physical and mental health, it can ask individuals who disclose a particular illness, disease, or impairment for more medical information or require them to have a medical examination related to the condition disclosed. What may an employer do when it learns that an applicant has epilepsy after he has been offered a job but before he starts working?When an applicant discloses after he has received a conditional job offer that he has epilepsy, an employer may ask the applicant additional questions about his epilepsy, such as whether he has held the same or a similar job since his diagnosis; whether he takes any medication; whether he still has seizures and, if so, what type; how long it takes him to recover after a seizure; and/or, whether he will need assistance if he has a seizure at work.
Sometimes, the decision to disclose depends on whether an individual will need a reasonable accommodation to perform the job (for example, breaks to take medication).
A person with epilepsy, however, may request an accommodation after becoming an employee even if she did not do so when applying for the job or after receiving the job offer. May an employer ask any follow-up questions if an applicant voluntarily reveals that she has epilepsy? An employer generally may not ask an applicant who has voluntarily disclosed that she has epilepsy any questions about her epilepsy, its treatment, or its prognosis.
However, if an applicant voluntarily discloses that she has epilepsy and the employer reasonably believes that she will require an accommodation to perform the job because of her epilepsy or treatment, the employer may ask whether the applicant will need an accommodation and what type.
When the doctor expresses concern about the applicant's ability to work around stoves and use sharp utensils, the applicant explains that his seizures are controlled by medication and offers to bring information from his neurologist to answer the doctor's concerns.
He also points out that he has worked as a chef for seven years without incident.