Islets of Hope  Is diabetes a disability?  What civil rights laws protect diabetics?

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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 Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
Back to main Civil Rights Section

Discrimination by association with a person who has diabetes

Under the ADA law neither public nor private entities can discriminate against an individual or an entity because of the known disability of a person with whom the individual or entity has a relationship.  For example, an employer could not refuse to hire the single parent of a child with diabetes because of concerns about potential absenteeism.  As long as the applicant is qualified for the job and is able to work the hours required s/he cannot be denied a job simply because s/he has a child or spouse with diabetes.

People without disabilities are not entitled to reasonable accommodation, modifications to policies, practices and procedures, or other accommodations.  However, if they face discrimination by association, they may be protected under ADA law.

Other examples of diabetes-related discrimination by association include:

  • A local library could not refuse to allow a diabetes support group to meet or use library facilities because the already has recently permitted diabetes-related events in their facilities.
  • If a restaurant asked a patron to leave because they were with someone who had diabetes, the restaurant would be illegally discriminating against both individuals.


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Page Updated 08/15/2007