Islets of Hope Is diabetes a disability? What civil rights laws protect diabetics?
Written by Lahle Wolfe
Source: Publication PA-04-2006; Revised 12/06; Published by Islets of Hope, Diabetes and civil rights law: "An overview of your legal right to equal access to programs, benefits, opportunity, accommodations, education, and employment" Read full publication (.pdf)
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Diabetes and Civil Rights Laws
The legal definition of a disability
The guiding anti-discrimination legislation used for identifying a person has having a disability can be found in the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Both the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA have been amended since they were enacted in order to further clarify the term “disability” as it applies to civil rights of persons with disabilities.
Anti-discrimination laws are continually being challenged and therefore, subject to dynamic legal interpretation and possible further amendment. To find out if there have been any recent changes regarding disability laws in the United States contact your regional Disability and Technical Assistance Center (DBTAC) at 1-800-949-4232 V/TTY or visit them on the web: http://www.dbtac.vcu.edu/.
Under the ADA there are three key aspects used in defining the term “disability.” The ADA definition of disability reconciles with the term “disability” under the Rehabilitation Act. Both the ADA and Rehabilitation Act work to identify specific types of discrimination that people with disabilities may encounter. While these two important sets of laws agree on what constitutes a disability, other laws do not use this same definition. Laws that may use other, broader or more defining criteria for the term “disability” include state and federal laws providing benefits to disabled persons (i.e., state worker’s compensation laws) and veterans.
In some cases, even if a person with diabetes is qualified as having a disability, other federal or state laws may prohibit or restrict the hiring of someone who uses insulin for a particular job. In this case, anti-discrimination laws may or may not apply.
(i) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially
limits one or more major
(ii) has a record of such an impairment, or
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Page Updated 08/15/2007