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Disability Discrimination Based on Diabetes

California Lawyers Protecting the Rights of Workers

Disability discrimination based on diabetes can take an enormous toll on workers. Drug prices are rising. The cost of insulin per vial can run into the hundreds of dollars, with a month’s worth costing a patient thousands of dollars. Many workers do not have enough saved to pay out-of-pocket in case they lose their jobs or suffer a demotion that results in loss of pay or benefits. As a diabetic worker, you may need reasonable accommodations or changes to your job environment or its procedures to be able to do your work. If you suspect that you were subject to disability discrimination based on diabetes, you should consult an attorney about your legal rights and avenues for relief. The seasoned California disability discrimination lawyers at The Nourmand Law Firm may be able to help.

Disability Discrimination Based on Diabetes

Workplace disability discrimination is prohibited under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). These laws forbid discrimination against you if you are a job applicant or employee with one of the following:

  • Current disability
  • History of disability
  • Perceived disability
  • Close relationship to someone with a disability

These laws define “disability” differently. The ADA provides that a disability is a condition that substantially restricts a worker's major life activity. Diabetes is a disability under federal law because the diagnosis means that the function of your endocrine system is substantially restricted. Diabetes can be an invisible disability, which can cause coworkers or supervisors to not quite understand your needs in the workplace. The ADA applies to workplaces that have at least 15 employees. Compensatory and punitive damages are capped based on the size of your employer when relief is sought under this law. Under federal law, harassment based on a protected trait is one type of discrimination.

The California FEHA defines “disability” in a more expansive way than the ADA does. Under state law, a disability is a physical or mental impairment that restricts a major life activity. It includes physical impairments such as diabetes, along with mental impairments. It applies to smaller workplaces with five or more employees. Medical conditions are also protected characteristics under FEHA.

To establish your entitlement to damages for disability discrimination based on diabetes, our lawyers will need to show that your diabetes meets the definition of “disability” under state or federal laws. We will also need to prove that your employer took an adverse employment action against you due to your diabetes. Adverse employment actions that could count as discrimination based on the employer’s motivation for the decision can include failure to hire, demotion, harassment, wrongful termination, failure to promote, or pay discrepancies.

For example, if a prospective employer decided not to hire you because they found out that you are diabetic, this is likely grounds for a disability discrimination lawsuit in California.

Reasonable Accommodations

Under the ADA and FEHA, you are entitled to a reasonable accommodation for your diabetes unless it would pose an undue hardship for your employer to provide it. Accommodations are adjustments to the workplace or its policies that would allow you to do your job in spite of your disability. For diabetes, accommodations might include more frequent rest breaks, an altered schedule when you need to see the doctor, or the ability to keep food at your desk in case your blood sugar gets low. Our attorneys may be able to pursue a claim for disability discrimination if your employer fails to provide you with a reasonable accommodation for your diabetes when it would not have presented an undue hardship. For example, if you were terminated because you asked for certain breaks to take your insulin shots, and your employer easily could have made adjustments to allow for the breaks, you may have a disability discrimination claim.

Under FEHA, your employer must engage in a good-faith interactive process with you once your need for an accommodation comes up. You can sue for an employer's failure to engage with you in this way to determine a reasonable accommodation for your diabetes.

Consult Our California Attorneys for Your Discrimination Claim

If your employer engaged in disability discrimination based on diabetes, you should consult an experienced attorney. The Nourmand Law Firm represents clients in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties, as well as Oakland and Sacramento, among other areas of California. Complete our online form or call us at 310-553-3600 or 800-700-WAGE (9243).

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