The Americans With Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination based upon physical and mental impairments and also provides reasonable accommodations that can include modified work schedules and leaves of absence. Prior to the amendments passed by Congress that became effective on January 1, 2009, courts routinely dismissed employees' cases finding that the employees did not have a “disability” as defined by that law. In particular, individuals with diabetes were often found not to be covered by this law preventing any legal remedy for termination from employment or denial of reasonable accommodations. For instance, one of the most significant changes to the Americans With Disabilities Act is that courts are not to consider mitigating measures in assessing disability. Mitigating measures are defined as the following: medication, medical supplies, equipment or appliances, low-vision devices, prosthetics including limbs and devices, hearing aids, mobility devices, and oxygen therapy equipment supplies. Mitigating measures may also include the use of a job coach, personal assistant, or service animal; surgical intervention or compensatory strategy that mitigates or even allows an individual to otherwise avoid performing particular major life activities.
Under the Americans With Disabilities Act, disability is defined as substantially limiting in one or more major life activities. Furthermore, substantial limitations are measured by most people in the general population. Major life activities include caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentration, thinking, communicating, and working. Additionally, and significant to individuals with diabetes, major life activities now specifically include the operation of major bodily functions such as the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine and reproductive functions.
Complaints under the Americans with Disabilities Act must be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 300 days and usually 180 days under similar state laws. Employers who received federal financial assistance are subject to the Rehabilitation Act which the time limits varies from state to state.
This site is sponsored by Morgan & Paul, PLLC, a law firm representing individuals and families in disability, employment and injury cases. For more information, visit www.morgan-paul.com or call at 1-888-967-5674.