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Americans with Disabilities Act - Diabetes


Americans with Disabilities Act - Diabetes By Gregory Frazier

 

 

In June of 1999, the supreme court limited the way the Americans with Disabilities Act can be applied to those suffering from diabetes, (referred to as the Sutton trilogy).


 In June of 1999, the supreme court limited the way the Americans with Disabilities Act can be applied to
those suffering from diabetes, (referred to as the Sutton trilogy).

Prior to the June 1999 decisions, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal office that enforces the ADA, held that diabetics claiming disability under the law had to be evaluated on their condition without corrective measures. For example those with diabetes could still claim a disability that diabetes was controlled through medications, and without them they would suffer major life activities such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.

The American Diabetes Association has expressed great concern over the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Americans with Disabilities Act claiming that it unfairly constrains diabetics who are trying to control their condition with medication. If a diabetic does not attempt a medical remedy of the condition, the ADA does not apply, since in most instances, diabetes can be improved with medical intervention. However, by successfully controlling a diabetic condition with medication and the individual is not restricted from a major life activity, then the individual also loses the protection of the ADA. Complications of diabetes, such as diabetic retinopathy or diabetic neuropathy can in themselves affect a person's ability to work. An employee suffering from diabetes might require an individualized break schedule in order to check blood sugar, take insulin, or eat, which in turn might fall under the category of a 'reasonable accommodation' on the part of the employer.

Surprisingly, in a large number of diabetes cases brought before the judicial system, the employer actually admits that the action being challenged was taken because of the person's diabetes. The case then revolves around whether the person was covered by the law (under the definition of disability) and, if so, whether the person's diabetes would create a direct threat to others. However, in other cases the employer doesn't admit that it was motivated by the person's diabetes and, in such cases, the employee needs to provide direct or indirect evidence that proves that discrimination did occur.

Due to the ruling handed down in 1999, the American Diabetes Association advises members to look at both federal and state laws. Many states have disability discrimination laws that are more comprehensive than federal law.

 

Article Provided by Type 2 Diabetes Diet Information

 

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