While seeking new employment, my old boss told my potential new boss of my Type 1... how wrong is that?

Hi gang,

Hope you are all doing VERY well. I have been missing due to school and new job hunting.

Now, regarding my problem, I did acquire the job in question, but what right did my old boss have in telling my potential new boss about my diabetes… it was supposed to be a conversation about my job performance and what I could bring to the new company!

I am so offended, and just upset because I thought we had such a nice working relationship in my old place.

Has this happened to anyone? I read some older posts. What do I do? I have already sent a brief personal e-mail asking my old boss for an explanation and telling him I felt it was an invasion of privacy.

Your advice is so appreciated!



Maybe he was anagry that you are looking for a new job.
I’d be madder than a hornet.
I think the law states that the new boss cannot ask you about specific health problems, . The old boss, at best, was rude, insensitive and inappropriate.
I’m glad you got the job.

Get a lawyer and sue.

I am faced with a similar problem. I am scared to tell anybody at my new job about my Type 2 diabetes in fear they will not hire me permanent because it. Sounds silly but weirder things have happened.

I would definitely seek some kind of advice or counsel about this situation. This is a terrible breach of privacy and could be a hindrance to you getting a new job. This is the same as discrimination against people with AIDS. Hopefully your old boss will email you a reply and this will be proof they shared this information so may go forward with your complaint.

I am sorry to hear this!!

Rosalind Joffe is a career coach over at Job-hunt.org - she is the expert on job searching when you have a chronic illness. She has lots of good tips. If you’re on Twitter, her handle is @WorkWithIllness

I like to think your old boss was well-intentioned but ultimately stupid! It may have been illegal but I don’t know. I can tell your attitude is great and what can you do? but move on!

I feel like that was very innapropriate. What does being a type 1 diabetic have to do with your job performance. You’re just as qualified for the job than a person w/o diabetes.

It’s hard for people who maybe don’t deal with a chronic disease to NOT say something when they know someone else IS dealing with one. It is illegal for him to have said anything to the new boss regarding your medical issues. Have you missed a lot of work due to your Type 1 at your old job? If so, maybe he was trying to warn the new boss about your medical issues interfering with your job performance?

If that’s not the case (and actually even if it is), the rules about bosses giving reccommendations to other bosses… the old boss cannot give negative reccommendations about a former employee. The worst they can say is “I’d rather not comment on her work ethic” etc.

I don’t know what you’d like to do regarding this, but I would be clear with my new boss that my Type 1 isn’t something that you want spread around the office (if that’s what you’d prefer). I used to hide my Type 1 from co-workers, but as of the last year, I’ve found that it’s easier to just let it all hang out. My co-workers know the difference between 1+2 now, and will ask me questions about it if it comes up. And if they say something wrong about it, I kindly correct them. So, it’s turned into something that I can use to spread awareness about my disease.

Good luck with all of this. And congrats on your new job!

Your boss really blew it. Your health information is private. He should not have disclosed his knowledge of your diabetes, I believe that is a violation of the either the ADA and/or HIPAA and you really should report it to the HR department of your previous company. Fortunately, it appears you did not suffer any damages, but it would be entirely appropriate for you to ask the the company clarify it’s internal practices to avoid this in the future and to provide “training” to your old boss.

Technically it is illegal but unfortunately I think there is more of that going around than most people realize. Proving it is also going to be hard unless you get the new boss to agree that he was told about it. If he asked whether you have any health problems, then he would be in trouble for asking the question so he might not be so willing to agree that the ex-boss told him. A good screener will know how to ask the questions in a way to get the answers they need without doing anything illegal but most people don’t have the HR background to know how to do that. Then you run into the problem of a potential new boss somehow knowing your old boss – they call up the old boss and ask questions before they even schedule the interview.

Wow, completely inappropriate and I’m pretty sure illegal! I’ve discovered diabetes is a thorny issue in the workplace. While there is the whole discrimination angle (which is one thing), there is also the more subtle angle of dealing with anyone who has a chronic condition in the workplace. On one hand, I feel it’s important for people to know my status as diabetic because, if I have an emergency at work, I want to make sure they know what to do. On the other hand, I don’t want any special treatment or people looking at me like I can’t get my job done. It’s a hard thing to balance.

Regarding your situation, I think you did the right thing by sending an email. His reasons may have been really benign, such as he wanted to let them know because he was worried you’d have an emergency and wanted to make sure they were aware. While that is still illegal and inappropriate for him to breach your privacy like that, it would make me less mad than if he was just being a jerk or felt that D would impact your performance.

Save a hard copy of the email that you sent to him. If and when he sends you a response - print it out as well. That will be your proof, if it is needed. Good luck at your new job.


In some regard, this seems illegal, though I’m not a lawyer, so don’t know specifics. I was once offered a job, and then it was revoked when they found out about my Type I. I sued them! It was a long and arduous process, not worth too much in the end, but I 'won" so to speak, and it was all about making the point to them, that they knew I was MORE than capable of doing that job and then made a judgement based on my health that is unfair, and illegal. Sorry to hear about this, and I hope your old boss is shaking in his boots b/c you confronted him/her :slight_smile:

No the former boss should of not mentioned the diabetes but regarding your comments about illegal to give a bad recommendation - that is just urban legend. I did have a former employer who would not let any managers issue recomendations or referrals of any sort because they were afraid of lawsuits, but it is not illegal seeit’s not illegal to give a bad job reference

Well, I’m glad it ended well. Now you know that your new boss isn’t prejudiced against you for being T1. That’s the silver lining on this cloud. Your old boss made a big flub, but perhaps you’d be happier if you just walked away and let it go? Focus on your new job and be careful about giving that old boss as a reference in the future.

This doesn’t seem to violate any legal standards; you weren’t speaking with your doctor so the conversation wasn’t protected. I’m guessing you volunteered the information about your T1 so your old boss could plausibly think it’s relevant even though we all know that’s a stretch. I’d let it go.
As an aside … this is why I have never disclosed my T1 to anyone or any employer in the 51 years I’ve lived with D. Only my wife, my two kids and doctor knows of my “condition.” It really has made my life much simpler.

I am applying for jobs and thinking of taking your approach. The fewer people who know of my condition, the less prejudice I will encounter. I am T2 and on MDI. I don’t really see why anyone needs to know. If I keel over they can call 911 and the discreet little tag on a chain under my clothes will tell the paramedics everything they need to know.

You got it!!!

That’s terrible…Back in the early 90’s I had a difficult time finding a good job because of my diabetes. I felt discriminated against however with good luck I went to work for a fortune 500 company. I understand your frustration and he/she was totally out of line/unprofessional. Provide the feedback because it will eat at you until you do so…Good luck and congratulations on the new job

This is illegal. This violates the ADA. The text below is directly from the EEOC:

With limited exceptions, an employer must keep confidential any medical information it learns about an applicant or employee. An employer, however, may disclose that an employee has diabetes under the following circumstances:

  • to supervisors and managers in order to provide a reasonable accommodation or to meet an employee's work restrictions;
  • to first aid and safety personnel if an employee would need emergency treatment or require some other assistance because, for example, her blood sugar levels are too low;(5)
  • to individuals investigating compliance with the ADA and similar state and local laws; and,
  • where needed for workers' compensation or insurance purposes (for example, to process a claim).
Organizations over a certain size are required to have a corporate officer that you can report violations to. This is the law.