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Is Diabetes A Disability Under The Ada


Diabetes At Work: Your Rights And Benefits

What is the ADA? Basics and Definitions of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Breaking down employer-based health insurance, employee health benefits, and employee rights for people with diabetes

The most common type of health insurance coverage in the US is employer-based insurance, covering almost 50% of all Americans in 2017. Despite its prominence, employer-based health insurance can be challenging to navigate, and living with diabetes makes the process of understanding and accessing employee health benefits like insurance all the more critical. This guide breaks down employer-based insurance, employee health benefits, and the rights of people with diabetes in the workplace.

We hope this guide helps you better understand employer-based insurance, maximize your health through work benefits, and know and protect your workplace rights as a person with diabetes.

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    Canada: The Canadian Charter Of Rights And Freedoms

    Amended in 1981, section 15 disallows discrimination based on physical disability by federal, provincial and territorial governments. While this does not apply to the private sector, most workplaces are covered by provincial human rights legislation, which also prohibit discrimination based on disabilities. Employers must do what they can to allow a person with diabetes to perform the job unless the employer would suffer undue hardship in terms of health, safety or cost.

    Travel To And From Work

    You may need to travel for your job, but your medical supplies wonât stop you from meeting this need. You can take diabetes supplies through security. This includes:

    • Insulin and products to dispense it, such as vials and pens
    • Unused syringes when you have them along with injectable medication
    • Lancets
    • Used syringes when you carry them in a hard-surface container to store used syringes and test strips
    • Liquids or gels

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    Protections Under The Americans With Disabilities Act

    The Americans With Disabilities Act is a federal law that protects disabled people from discrimination in the workplace and by public services.

    If you’re legally considered to be disabled, the ADA requires employers with fifteen or more employees not to discriminate against someone because of one’s disability as long as they can perform their job duties satisfactorily.


    This means that if your employer thinks you might be unable to fulfill your job duties, they must first offer reasonable accommodations that can allow you to stay on the job, otherwise it will be considered discrimination.

    For people with diabetes, this can be simply accommodating the need to inject insulin, eat more frequently to maintain your proper blood sugar levels, or other challenges.

    Type 1 Diabetes In The Workplace: Your Protections

    Is Type 1 Diabetes Considered A Disability Under Ada

    When people dont understand type 1 diabetes , they sometimes make assumptions or resort to stereotypes theyve heard in the past. This can be tiresome, frustrating and, when at work, downright illegal.

    The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to treat their employees fairly and equally to their coworkers. In 2008, diabetes was qualified as a disability in order to secure this laws protections.

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    Impairments Limiting Life Activities

    People with disabilities mainly those with bodily injuries or function conditions and basic daily accommodations are included in major life activities. The ADA offers examples of undue hardship and reasonable accommodations. The ADA also prevents employers from discriminating against employees and job applicants who have mental and physical impairments that limit major life activities. Some examples of these life activities include:

    • Seeing
    • Sitting
    • Reading

    Treatment is usually to help slow down or soothe the pain. The Rehabilitation Act standards for determining employment discrimination are the same as those used in title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    Q Who Is Protected From Employment Discrimination

    A. Employment discrimination against individuals with disabilities is prohibited. This includes applicants for employment and employees. An individual is considered to have a “disability” if s/he has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. Persons discriminated against because they have a known association or relationship with an individual with a disability also are protected.

    The first part of the definition makes clear that the ADA applies to persons who have impairments and that these must substantially limit major life activities. There are two non-exhaustive lists of examples of major life activities: caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, sitting, reaching, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, interacting with others, and working.

    Major life activities also include the operation of major bodily functions, including: the immune system special sense organs and skin normal cell growth and digestive, genitourinary, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, cardiovascular, endocrine, hemic, lymphatic, musculoskeletal, and reproductive functions.


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    Q What Resources Does The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Have Available To Help Employers And People With Disabilities Understand And Comply With The Employment Requirements Of The Ada

    A. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has developed numerous resources to help employers and people with disabilities understand and comply with the employment provisions of the ADA.

    Resources include:

    • Question and answer documents

    For information on how to contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, see page 25-26.

    The ADA National Network can assist individuals with disabilities by providing ADA information related to employment in the private sector and in state and local governments. Additionally, the ADA National Network can help employers successfully implement the ADA. The Network can provide training and information on hiring, tax incentives, reasonable accommodations, and other strategies to facilitate compliance, improve employment outcomes, and strengthen employee loyalty. Contact the ADA National Network with your questions or to find a regional ADA National Network center near you. Call 949-4232 all calls are confidential.


    Stopping Diabetes Discrimination Requires The Help Of Health Care Professionals

    ADA – What is a covered disability in the workplace discrimination context

    Health care professionals play a vital role in protecting and advancing the rights of workers with diabetes. Workers with diabetes often turn to their health care professionals when there is a diabetes-related issue at work and may not be aware that they have legal rights at work related to their diabetes until a knowledgeable health care professional points out this fact. The ADAAA’s changes make it easier for workers and health care professionals to establish that a person with diabetes is protected by the ADA.

    But what rights does this protection offer? Once a worker with diabetes meets the definition of disability, the ADA protects him or her from discrimination, for example, by prohibiting employers from denying a qualified individual a job opportunity based solely on diabetes. Although the ADAAA did not change the existing ADA substantive rights, it better enabled workers with diabetes to show that they are entitled to exercise them. As a result, health care professionals can play an important role in helping patients

    Health Care Professionals Can Help Establish ADA Coverage

    The American Diabetes Association provides legal advocacy assistance to health care professionals and patients who are fighting diabetes discrimination at work, school, and elsewhere.

    Individuals can call 1-800-DIABETES to find out how to speak with an Association Legal Advocate about a discrimination problem. Read about the Association’s Legal Advocacy efforts at www.diabetes.org/discrimination.

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    Can You Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

    As for diabetes type 2, the truth is that you can reverse your condition as long as you haven’t had diabetes long enough to become insulin-dependent.

    The underlying condition that causes type 2 diabetes is insulin resistance, a buildup of dietary fat in cells that aren’t meant to store it. These cells reject sugars from the blood, causing your levels to spike.

    Fortunately, you can reverse insulin resistance, and in doing so, completely reverse type 2 diabetes!

    However, after a prolonged period of time with t2 diabetes, your insulin cells “burn out” after needing to overproduce for so long. At this point, even if you reverse insulin resistance, you’ll need to supplement daily insulin.

    Understanding The Difference Between Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes

    Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes have similar challenges — elevated blood sugar levels, and the symptoms that follow, including obesity, elevated blood pressure, heart disease, and the potential for organ, vision, and nerve damage.


    However, their causes are different, and either way, you can overcome these challenges!

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    Applying For Jobs If You Have Diabetes

    When you apply for a job, you may think you have to tell that you have diabetes — or that you have to answer any questions about it. You donât. In fact, the Americans with Disabilities Act says employers canât ask any questions during a job interview that could reveal the existence of a disability.

    A few examples of questions that a potential employer canât ask you:

    • Do you have a disability that would interfere with your ability to perform the job?
    • How many days were you sick last year?
    • Have you ever filed for workers’ compensation?
    • What prescription drugs do you currently take?

    Medical questions and medical exams may be allowed after you receive a job offer and before your work begins. But your employer needs to ask these questions of other applicants, not just you, for them to be legal. But your boss canât take back your offer because you reveal you have diabetes.


    Your employer can withdraw the offer, however, if you canât perform the essential functions of the job, even with reasonable accommodations.

    Type 1 Diabetes The Closest Form To A Disability

    Diabetes Disability Ada

    Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system has mistakenly attacked and destroyed the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.

    There is currently no known cure for type 1 diabetes, and people with type 1 diabetes must regularly supplement their bodies with insulin throughout their lives.

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    Q What Standards Must Places Of Public Accommodation And Commercial Facilities Follow

    A. Places of public accommodation must follow the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design for barrier removal, new construction and alterations. Commercial facilities must follow the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design for new construction and alterations. The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design set minimum requirements both scoping and technical — for newly designed and constructed or altered public accommodations and commercial facilities to be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. Elevators are generally not required in facilities under three stories or with fewer than 3,000 square feet per floor, unless the building is a shopping center or mall the professional office of a health care provider a terminal, depot, or other public transit station or an airport passenger terminal.


    Q How Is Readily Achievable Determined In A Multisite Business

    A. In determining whether an action to make a public accommodation accessible would be “readily achievable,” the overall size of the parent corporation or entity is only one factor to be considered. The ADA also permits consideration of the financial resources of the particular facility or facilities involved and the administrative or fiscal relationship of the facility or facilities to the parent entity.

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    A Legal Question Vs A Mentality One

    In order to answer this question, we have to break down two aspects of this question:

    First, is diabetes a legal disability? When it comes to this question, the answer is yes.

    The people who face diabetes, especially type 1 diabetes, face unique challenges that should be acknowledged by the typical legal, medical, and employment protections of any person with a disability! We’ll explore these challenges and your thoughts about them below.


    But when it comes to living with diabetes, there’s a difference between treating diabetes as an unfortunate circumstance and feeling disabled.

    Many people who discover that they have diabetes feel disabled, like they’re forever going to be limited by their condition. And when it comes to that part of diabetes, we’ve got quite a bit to say.

    Q What Are The Ada Requirements For Altering Facilities

    Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Workplace

    A. All alterations that could affect the usability of a facility must be made in an accessible manner to the maximum extent feasible. For example, if during renovations a doorway is being relocated, the new doorway must be wide enough to meet the new construction standard for accessibility. When alterations are made to a primary function area, such as the lobby of a bank or the dining area of a cafeteria, an accessible path of travel to the altered area must also be provided.

    The bathrooms, telephones, and drinking fountains serving that area must also be made accessible. These additional accessibility alterations are only required to the extent that the added accessibility costs do not exceed 20% of the cost of the original alteration. Elevators are generally not required in facilities under three stories or with fewer than 3,000 square feet per floor, unless the building is a shopping center or mall the professional office of a health care provider a terminal, depot, or other public transit station or an airport passenger terminal.

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    Q Can An Employer Establish Specific Attendance And Leave Policies

    A. An employer can establish attendance and leave policies that are uniformly applied to all employees, regardless of disability, but may not refuse leave needed by an employee with a disability if other employees get such leave. An employer also may be required to make adjustments in leave policy as a reasonable accommodation. The employer is not obligated to provide additional paid leave, but accommodations may include leave flexibility and unpaid leave.

    A uniformly applied leave policy does not violate the ADA because it has a more severe effect on an individual because of his/her disability. However, if an individual with a disability requests a modification of such a policy as a reasonable accommodation, an employer may be required to provide it, unless it would impose an undue hardship.

    Adaaa Offers Protections To People With Diabetes

    The ADAAA responded to the courts’ repeated denials of ADA protection to people with disabilities such as diabetes, AIDS, cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and mental illness. It passed both houses of Congress unanimously, was signed into law by President George W. Bush on September 25, 2008, and applies to discrimination that occurs on or after January 1, 2009. The ADAAA’s changes are incorporated into the ADA so that the text of the statute now directs the courts to interpret the definition of disability in favor of broad coverage. People with diabetes still have to show a substantial limitation in a major life activity, but the law makes this requirement much easier to meet.

    Health care professionals, especially physicians, play a primary role in helping their patients with diabetes establish coverage under the law and in protecting their rightsa role that is much more straightforward than in the past, thanks to the changes to the law. Often, all that is required is a letter from the patient’s physician describing the individual’s diabetes, focusing on specific details now relevant to determine whether a person is protected from discrimination. Discussed below are the specific provisions that will be particularly important to health care professionals in this regard.

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    Q How Will The Public Accommodations Provisions Be Enforced

    A. Private individuals may bring lawsuits in which they can obtain court orders to stop discrimination. Individuals may also file complaints with the U.S. Department of Justice, which is authorized to bring lawsuits in cases of general public importance or where a “pattern or practice” of discrimination is alleged. In these cases, the Justice Department may seek monetary damages and civil penalties. Civil penalties may not exceed $55,000 for a first violation or $110,000 for any subsequent violation.

    The ADA National Network can assist individuals with disabilities by providing ADA information related to access to the goods and services provided by places of public accommodation. The ADA National Network can also provide businesses with information on meeting the needs of people with disabilities. Contact the ADA National Network with your questions or to find a regional ADA National Network center near you. Call 949-4232 all calls are confidential.

    Q What Are The Ada’s Requirements For Public Transit Buses

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    A. The Department of Transportation has issued regulations mandating accessible public transit vehicles and facilities. The regulations include requirements that all new fixed-route, public transit buses be accessible and that supplementary paratransit services be provided for those individuals with disabilities who cannot use fixed-route bus service. For information on how to contact the Department of Transportation, see page 25-26.

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    Q Does The Ada Require Employers To Develop Written Job Descriptions

    A. No. The ADA does not require employers to develop or maintain job descriptions. However, a written job description that is prepared before advertising or interviewing applicants for a job will be considered as evidence along with other relevant factors. If an employer uses job descriptions, they should be reviewed to make sure they accurately reflect the actual functions of a job. A job description will be most helpful if it focuses on the results or outcome of a job function, not solely on the way it customarily is performed. A reasonable accommodation may enable a person with a disability to accomplish a job function in a manner that is different from the way an employee who does not have a disability may accomplish the same function.

    Q What Type Of Inquiries Can Be Made About The Use Of A Service Animal

    A. To determine if an animal is a service animal, a public entity or a private business may ask two questions: 1) Is this animal required because of a disability? and 2) What work or task has this animal been trained to perform? These inquires may not be made if the need for the service animal is obvious A public entity or private business may not ask about the nature or extent of an individuals disability. They also may not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained or licensed as a service animal, or require the animal to wear an identifying vest.

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