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

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In October of 2005 a class-action lawsuit was filed by four families in Northern California against California schools aserting that children with diabetes were protected under federal (and state) disability laws. In August 2007, California courts rendered a landmark decision by legally establishing that children with diabetes were disabled according to both state and federal legal definitions and therefore, have protected rights under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1973 as well as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).


Great News for South Carolina's Children with Diabetes!

New law allows students to carry their own medicines:  Medication won’t require a visit to the school nurse By DEVON MARROW.  S.C. children suffering from chronic illnesses soon will be able to carry relief in their pockets.  

A new law slowly making its way into South Carolina’s classrooms allows children who suffer from such illnesses as asthma and diabetes to carry and administer their own medicines. ... Lexington 4 is the first school district in the Midlands to officially revise its policy to include the 4-month-old legislation. Until now, most school districts have required that only school personnel, usually nurses, give medicines to students.  ... For 8-year-old Trevor Collins, having diabetes means an insulin shot in the morning and evening. ... As a Frances F. Mack Primary School student, the second-grader also needs to check his blood sugar level before he joins his classmates for lunch...  The, December 9, 2005.


Federal & State Laws Protecting Children & Adults with Diabetes in:

Public Schools
Private Schools
Daycare Centers
Colleges & Universities

Other Legal Information

Diabetes Discrimination & Legal Resources

Insurance Laws

Research & Ethics Laws

Diabetes Fact Sheet for Child Nutrition Professionals

Federal laws may require that schools and day care facilities participating in the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, and Child and Adult Care Food Programs accommodate children with medical conditions such as diabetes. Regardless of the law, knowledgeable school staff are essential in providing a safe school environment for children with diabetes. Here are some key points to keep in mind. Retain all diet prescriptions on file. Diet prescriptions should only be changed by the physician or appropriate health professional.



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diabetes legal information education and daycare facility laws

Mini Site Index

Diabetes and Civil Rights Laws

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Frequently asked questions about diabetes discrimination in the work place

FAQs employees may have about disability civil rights

  1. What questions can an employer ask during the application process?.
  2. Do I need to provide a doctor’s note about my diabetes to my employer?
  3. What information is a person with diabetes required by law to disclose during the application process?
  4. What can an employer do after a person with diabetes has been offered a job and then discovers that the person has diabetes?
  5. When can an employer ask if medical problems, including diabetes are affecting work my performance?
  6. Is poor job performance for any reason enough cause for my employer to ask for or obtain medical information about me?
  7. What information can my employer share about my diabetes?
  8. Do I have to tell other employees I have diabetes?  Can my employer tell my co-workers about my diabetes?
  9. What if a co-worker asks why I am getting certain accommodations?
  10. Can I use the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to take time off to care for diabetic family member?
  11. How do I file a complaint against my employer for disability-related job descrimination?

FAQs about civil rights and diabetes for employers

  1. I am concerned that an employee with diabetes may be unable to safely perform his/her job.  Can I ask the employee questions about his/her diabetes or send him/her for a medical exam?
  2. I have an employee who misses a lot of work for diabetes (or other medical reason).  Can I ask the employee to submit proof of the reason for his/her absenteeism?
  3. If an employee has missed work due to diabetes problems, can an employer request a medical exam or documentation before allowing him/her to return to work?
  4. Does the ADA apply when another federal law prohibits an employer from hiring anyone who takes insulin for a particular position?
  5. Does everyone with diabetes have a disability covered under the ADA?
  6. Can we refuse to hire a qualified job applicant because they have a child or spouse with diabetes and we are concerned about the applicant missing work?
  7. Does the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) apply to persons who need time off to care for diabetic family members?

Civil Rights Resources



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Page Updated 08/15/2007