The Challenges and Social Impact of Coeliac Disease in the Workplace

  • Valerie Caven
  • Stefanos Nachmias
Part of the Palgrave Explorations in Workplace Stigma book series (PAEWS)


Food is an integral part of organisational life; it is used as a morale booster, as a reward, to build team spirit, and as a conduit for networking. It is such a central aspect of work that for most, it is taken for granted. However, for employees who suffer from coeliac disease, the social, psychological and symbolic role of food can cause isolation and exclusion from organisational settings. Thus, they may be stigmatised and experience discriminatory practices which impact on their equal treatment and dignity within the workplace. This chapter explores the personal experiences of coeliac sufferers at work; the extent of discrimination they experience; and, what, if any, areas of good practice exist which assist the management of the condition.


  1. Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. 2017. Help and advice. Accessed 5 Feb 2017.
  2. Ahmed, S. 2007. The language of diversity. Ethnic and Racial Studies 30: 235–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Araújo, H., and W. Araújo. 2012. Coeliac disease: Eating habits and quality of life. British Food Journal 114: 1297–1309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bezrukova, K., K. Jehn, and C.S. Spell. 2012. Reviewing diversity training: Where we have been and where we should go. Academy of Management Learning and Education 11: 207–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Black, J.L., and C. Orfila. 2011. Impact of coeliac disease on dietary habits and quality of life. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 24: 582–587.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blamey, A., and M. Mackenzie. 2007. Theories of change and realistic evaluation: Peas in a pod or apples and oranges? Evaluation 13: 439–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. 2012. Diversity management. Accessed 17 Aug 2016.
  8. ———. 2014. Key facts on coeliac disease. Accessed 12 Jan 2017.
  9. ———. 2017. Gluten-free and the law. Accessed 8 Feb 2017.
  10. Cunha, M.P., C. Cabral-Cardoso, and S. Clegg. 2008. Manna from heaven: The exuberance of food as a topic for research in management and organization. Human Relations 61: 935–963.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Demerouti, E., A.B. Bakker, F. Nachreiner, and W.B. Schaufeli. 2001. The job demands-resources model of burnout. Journal of Applied Psychology 86: 499–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dulac, T., J. Coyle-Shapiro, D.J. Henderson, and S. Wayne. 2008. Not all responses to breach are the same. The interconnection of social exchange and psychological contract processes in organizations. Academy of Management Journal 51: 1079–1098.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Eisenberger, R., R. Huntington, S. Hutchison, and D. Sowa. 1986. Perceived organizational support. Journal of Applied Psychology 71: 500–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Equality Act. 2010 (2017). Equality Act 2010 breakdown. Accessed 3 Feb 2017.
  15. Flores-Pereira, M.T., E. Davel, and N.R. Cavedon. 2008. Drinking beer and understanding organizational culture embodiment. Human Relations 61: 1007–1026.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ford, S., R. Howard, and J. Oyebode. 2012. Psychosocial aspects of coeliac disease: A cross-sectional survey of a UK population. British Journal of Health Psychology 17: 743–757.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Goffman, E. 1963. Stigma: Notes on the management of spoiled identity. Englewood: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  18. Gray, A.M., and I. Papanicolas. 2010. Impact of symptoms on quality of life before and after diagnosis of coeliac disease: Results from a UK population survey. BMC Health Services Research 10: 1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Greene, A., and G. Kirton. 2011. Diversity management meets downsizing: The case of a government department. Employee Relations 33: 22–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Griffiths, H. 2008. Coeliac disease: Nursing care and management. Chichester: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hall, J., G. Rubin, and A. Charnock. 2013. Intentional and inadvertent non-adherence in adult coeliac disease. A cross-sectional survey. Appetite 68: 56–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hayles, V.R. 1996. Diversity training and development. The ASTD training and development handbook. New York: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  23. Hitchcock, H. 2013. Government health minister says eating at desks is ‘disgusting’, but should it be banned? Accessed 12 Jan 2017.
  24. Holtzman, J.D. 2006. Food and memory. Annual Review of Anthropology 35: 361–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kumra, S., and S. Manfredi. 2012. Managing equality and diversity: Theory and practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Kurppa, K., P. Collin, M. Mäki, and K. Kaukinen. 2014. Celiac disease and health-related quality of life. Expert Review of Gastroenterology & Hepatology 5: 83–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lee, A.R., D.L. Ng, B. Diamond, E.J. Ciaccio, and P. Green. 2012. Living with coeliac disease: Survey results from the USA. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietics 25: 233–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mendoza, N., and P. McGough. 2005. Coeliac disease: An overview. Nutrition & Food Science 35: 156–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Niederle, M., and L. Vesterlund. 2013. How costly is diversity? Affirmative action in light of gender differences. Management Science 59: 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ortlieb, R., and B. Sieben. 2011. Christmas parties and other social events in organisations: A hotbed for the (re)production of gender regimes. Workshop WK Organisation VHB, Freie Universitat, Berlin.Google Scholar
  31. Ozbilgin, M., G. Mulholland, A. Tatli, and D. Worman. 2008. Managing diversity and the business case. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.Google Scholar
  32. Perez, C. 2014. Revisiting Erving Goffman’s stigma: Notes on the management of spoiled identity. Blog post from Social Analysis of Health Network. University of Cambridge. Accessed 16 Jan 2017.
  33. Rich, B.L., J.A. LePine, and E.R. Crawford. 2010. Job engagement. Antecedents and effects on job performance. Academy of Management Journal 53: 617–635.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rosen, M. 1985. Breakfast at Spiro’s: Dramaturgy and dominance. Journal of Management 11: 31–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sturdy, A.J., M. Schwartz, and A. Spicer. 2006. Guess who’s coming to dinner? Structures and uses of liminality in strategic management consultancy. Human Relations 59: 929–960.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Thomson, D., and A. Hassenkamp. 2008. The social meaning and function of food rituals in healthcare practice: An ethnography. Human Relations 61: 1775–1802.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. van Dijk, H., M.L. van Engen, and J. Paauwe. 2012. Reframing the business case for diversity: A values and virtues perspective. Journal of Business Ethics 111: 73–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Whitaker, J.K., J. West, G.K. Holmes, and R.F. Logan. 2009. Patient perceptions of the burden of coeliac disease and its treatment in the UK. Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics 29: 1131–1136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Valerie Caven
    • 1
  • Stefanos Nachmias
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Human Resource ManagementNottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent UniversityNottinghamUK

Personalised recommendations