By Jennifer Carsen, JD, Senior Legal Editor
Over the past several years, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the increased number of gluten-free products on the grocery shelves … gluten-free menus at restaurants … and more and more friends and family who are choosing to “go gluten-free.”
While gluten-free eating has become something of a dietary fad, for sufferers of celiac disease it’s no casual choice.
According to the Mayo Clinic, celiac disease “is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.” This immune response, says the Mayo Clinic, causes inflammation “that damages the small intestine’s lining and prevents absorption of some nutrients. … Eventually, your brain, nervous system, bones, liver and other organs can be deprived of vital nourishment.” And there’s no cure.
What does this mean for you as an employer? Well, for starters, your employees who suffer from celiac disease may be feeling excluded—and even professionally limited—in ways you neither intend nor realize.