If you have diabetes, you are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This law prohibits workplace discrimination against people with disabilities who are otherwise qualified for their jobs. The law covers private employers that have at least 15 employees and local government employers. State employees are protected under similar provisions in Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code. Additionally, there are similar protections available for federal employment under Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act. At Wiley Walsh, P.C., our tenacious Austin diabetes discrimination lawyers may be able to provide counsel and representation if your diabetes results in discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. Consulting a disability discrimination attorney is a key step to take if you feel that you may have been subjected to mistreatment at your job.Discrimination Based on Diabetes
Diabetes is a disease that is characterized by high blood glucose resulting from the body's ability to make or use insulin. When someone is Type 1 diabetic, their body does not make insulin, while with Type 2 diabetes, the body does not make or use insulin well. Diabetes can be managed and controlled. However, some employers harbor stereotypes or biases about people who suffer from diabetes or people whom they perceive as having diabetes. Under the ADA's definition of disability, diabetes is a protected disability. If you are perceived as having diabetes or a history of it, even if it is controlled at the moment, you are also protected under the ADA.
The ADA allows people with diabetes to request reasonable accommodations to perform their jobs. Your employer is supposed to provide a reasonable accommodation for you unless doing so would pose an undue hardship. Reasonable accommodations are any alterations or adjustments to the workplace that make it possible for a qualified individual to do the job. A diabetes discrimination attorney can advise Austin employees on what a reasonable accommodation may be in their circumstances.
Some common reasonable accommodations for someone with diabetes might include breaks to eat a snack or take medication, the ability to keep diabetes supplies at their work station, modifications to attendance policies, leave for treatment or recovery from diabetes symptoms, the ability to work a modified work schedule, and the ability to use a chair or stool in cases of diabetic neuropathy. In addition to leave as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA, you may also be entitled to leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Your employer is limited in asking you questions related to diabetes or conducting medical examinations. For example, a potential employer cannot withdraw a job offer from you because you have diabetes if you are able to perform essential job functions with or without reasonable accommodations, as long as you do not present a direct threat to the health or safety of others that cannot be reduced or removed through a reasonable accommodation.
You are not required to voluntarily disclose that you have diabetes, but you may need to disclose your condition in order to get a reasonable accommodation. While an employer cannot ask you questions about diabetes or its prognosis simply because you voluntarily disclosed this information, an employer that reasonably believes that you need an accommodation to do your job may ask whether you will need an accommodation and what the accommodation would be. Your employer is supposed to keep information that you disclose about your medical condition, or documentation that you submit to get the accommodation, confidential.
The ADA is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You will need to file a charge with the EEOC before you can bring federal lawsuit based on diabetes discrimination. For example, if you believe that you were not promoted because you have diabetes, you may have a basis for bringing a disability discrimination claim and should file a charge with the EEOC.
In some cases, employers retaliate against an employee for asking for a reasonable accommodation or for taking a reasonable accommodation that was provided. Retaliation is an adverse action taken against you for engaging in a protected activity. Retaliation is prohibited under the ADA, and if you believe that you suffered from retaliation, you should consult an attorney about filing a charge with the EEOC.Explore Your Options with a Diabetes Discrimination Lawyer in the Austin Area
If you suffer from disability discrimination, harassment, or retaliation in the workplace due to your diabetes, you should consult an employment discrimination attorney about filing a charge or lawsuit. Wiley Walsh, P.C. represents people in cities such as Georgetown, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Pflugerville, Leander, Del Valle, Kyle, San Marcos, San Antonio, New Braunfels, and Fredericksburg. Call us at (512) 271-5527 or use our online form to set up an appointment with an Austin diabetes discrimination attorney.