Dealing with a Disability: How to Ensure You Are Getting the Right Help

shutterstock_134436686Do you have celiac disease? These days, it seems that more and more people are suffering from the gluten sensitivity disorder. Although most people (and employers) think of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) covering issues like wheelchair access and handicapped-accessible bathrooms, the act actually covers a lot more issues- even celiac disease.

How does the ADA help gluten sensitivity?
There was a recent case in 2012 in Massachusetts at Lesley University that proved that celiac disease is covered under ADA. According to this settlement, universities are required to serve gluten-free and allergen-free foods to students on university meal plans. Universities and schools around the country are also required to comply with this new ruling. The ruling stated that in any case where an individual did not have access to outside food sources (jail, on a cruise, on a company meal plan), allergen-friendly ingredients are a requirement.

The ADA may be able to help you get a job that may discriminate against you for your eating needs. This has never been a case seen before by the ADA, however, and is unlikely to occur. In situations where outside food is prohibited, the ADA provides the ability to bring in your own gluten-free foods and menu options.

What are the options in the workplace?
You may have to fight a little harder to get your ADA rights in the workplace. For example, you will be able to ask for additional restroom breaks during your day as a result of your disease. If you will attend a meeting where your employer is providing food and there are no other food options, your employer is required to provide you with a meal that fits your eating requirements.

Since celiac disease is a relatively unknown issue, you will probably have to prove to your employer that they are required to meet your requirements by the ADA.

What does the ADA cover?
In 2009, the ADA included activities and diseases covered to include eating and major bodily functions. This means that it is illegal for employers to discriminate against you based on your bathroom or eating habits at local, state, and national levels.

Dealing with discrimination
Some co-workers or employers may give you a hard time for your gluten-free lifestyle or increased need for bathroom breaks. This is an illegal activity that is prohibited by the ADA. You can file a formal complain with your HR department to resolve the issue. For more information, make sure to check out The best policy is to react in a non-confrontational manner to prevent further complications.

Speaking with your employer about celiac disease
If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, talk with your employer about offering gluten-free options. You may be surprised at how helpful your employer can be about the issue.

There are options for someone suffering from celiac disease in the workplace. It is a covered medical disability under the ADA. You do not have to suffer in the workplace, and your employer is legally required to support you through your disability as long as you can still do your job effectively.




I'm Lilly Sheperd, an occasional guest-blogger and a full time freelance communication consultant. When not blogging, I like to travel and read a lot, especially about education and law.
Share the Post:

Related Posts