How to tell your colleagues at work about your diabetes

Some people are ill-informed about diabetes, and they may respond irrationally out of fear or ignorance.  A simple explanation about diabetes is all you need to give. If you do not treat your diabetes as a problem, it is less likely that your colleagues will.

  • Hypos at work: It’s important to tell colleagues how to recognize and treat a hypo (hypoglycemic episode) if you experience these. This will stop them from overreacting at the time and will help to make sure that any hypos you have are treated correctly. Talk to your first aider about your diabetes too and make sure they know what to do in an emergency. If you have had a hypo at work and needed help to treat it, talk to your employer and colleagues afterwards. If possible, explain why the hypo happened to show them that you can normally control the situation and it is unlikely to happen again.
  • Taking time off: Everybody takes time off work for sickness or hospital appointments, whether they have diabetes or not. Diabetes does not necessarily make you more prone to sickness. If possible, try to arrange several clinic appointments for the same morning and give your employer plenty of notice of when and why you will be absent. When you are ill, seek prompt medical attention and keep your employer informed of what is happening.
  • Sources of support and further information: If you feel discriminated against at work, or that you might have been turned down for a job or dismissed because of your diabetes you will probably need specialist advice initially, and in some cases legal advice, if you wish to challenge employment decisions.