Type II diabetes - disability or not?
I recently mentioned an EU Court ruling indicated that if an employee is obese to the extent that it, "may hinder the full and effective participation of that person in professional life on an equal basis with other workers, and the limitation is a long-term one" it could amount to a disability. In such cases an individual would be protected under the Equality Act with regards to the need to make reasonable adjustments etc.
However, a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal looked at a case of an employee with Type II diabetes controlled solely by diet. Unfortunately Type II diabetes is becoming more prevalent as the level of obesity increases in the UK and so this is of interest to many employers.
The Claimant in this particular case argued that he was a disabled person because he had Type II diabetes and followed a diet which was designed to reduce blood sugar levels. The case went to appeal and the EAT ruled that a diabetic diet does not qualify as "measures taken to treat or correct the condition". It therefore decided that it should not be treated as a disability in this case. However, it is important to note that insulin controlled diabetes (as opposed to that solely controlled by diet) is likely to be considered a disability.
Posted on 19 Nov 2016