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)

 

diabetes legal information education and daycare facility laws

Diabetes and Civil Rights Laws
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
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Your civil rights for administering diabetes self-care in public and in the work place

It is important to understand that even when a person with diabetes is not specifically classified as “disabled” there are no federal laws that prohibit a diabetic person from testing blood sugars or injecting insulin in public, private, or the work place.  While some states have enacted laws that restrict diabetes care in public schools these laws may conflict with federal civil rights laws and are being challenged in some states.

Federal disability laws are designed to protect the rights of people with disabilities which may include those with diabetes, and allowing them equal access to many things include programs, benefits, employment, facilities, transportation, opportunities, and education.   

Many states have laws requiring the safe disposal and handling of medical waste including syringes from diabetes care to protect the health interests of the public.  However, legislation aimed at the safe disposal of syringes is often hampered by concerns over whether such laws will encourage illegal IV drug use.  Therefore, often, the disposal of used syringes is left to local jurisdictions and individual policies and procedures vary from place to place.

Key federal laws affecting persons with disabilities in public and private places including the work place, schools, and day care are:

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. One complaint in the law suit was that children in CA schools were being denied the right to test in classrooms.

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).

Children with diabetes are now permitted to test their blood sugar in the classroom in all California public schools.

 

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Page Updated 08/15/2007