September 23, 2008

Congress passes new Americans with Disabilities Act that Protects People with Diabetes from Discrimination

Lost in the cacaphony of the market meltdown is one piece of good news for people with diabetes: a new law which was just passed almost unanimously by congress, and which Bush says he will sign, says that employers can no longer discriminate against workers because they have diabetes.

This means that your employer will not be able to fire you because you require reasonable accommodations to take care of your blood sugar. If you need to take an occasional break to make a correction to your insulin dose or get some glucose, your employer cannot fire you. This doesn't sound like much, but I have read quite a few postings on over the last year from young people with Type 1 diabetes who have been forced off jobs because their employers insisted that they gamble with their lives by not making accommodations for their need to keep on top of blood sugars.

The law does not mean that an employer has to hire you if you are not qualified.

Existing law already provides that an employer cannot grill you about your health at an interview unless it is directly related to your ability to do the job, for example, if you are going to be driving a public bus or flying an airplane and are taking insulin.

Most people with diabetes need no accommodation at all from employers, but we may discriminated against--along with most people over 45--by employers who fear that having us on the payroll will push up their already enormous health insurance costs.

And as older people know, just having a law on the books doesn't stop discrimination for any quality that is obvious from a quick glance. Employers continue to discriminate in hiring based on age, color, body size, national origin, and gender. Often they do it by hiring contractors rather than full time employees. They do this so that the contracting agency company they hire can screen out the kinds of people the main company doesn't want to be bothered with.

People with Type 2 who tend to be heavy may therefore still find themselves facing discrimination at hiring time. But at least if you get hired you can't be fired because you have come down with diabetes.

Here's a write up about the new law and why it is being passed:,0,2819372.story


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the great posts. At age 49, having lived with "higher than normal blood sugars" since I was 17, a nurse in a diabetes education class I attended recently said"you're not type2, you're MODY" I ran home during the lunch break and looked it up on wikipedia and it fits me and my thin/skinny siblings perfectly.. With your additional info on c-peptide I feel well prepared for my appointment with the local endo/MODY specialist in early december:)
Thanks again for taking the time to pass along the info you do!

Anonymous said...

Good news indeed.