Illinois Institute of Technology Center for Diabetes Research and Policy
Law

Discrimination in employment

The Health & Disability Legal Clinic provides advice, referrals, and representation for people with diabetes who experience discrimination in the employment setting.

While considerable progress has been made when it comes to combating disability discrimination across the board, people with diabetes still experience discrimination in employment. Both federal and state laws explicitly protect people with disabilities from discrimination in different aspects of our society. The most important federal anti-disability discrimination law is the American with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and at the state level, the Illinois Human Rights Act. Depending on how you define the term, many people with diabetes would be considered as having a disability under the law because even with medication, proper diet and exercise, many people will experience periods of low blood sugar and high blood sugar which can interfere with every action the body performs from pumping blood and thinking to running and jumping.

Despite these potential limitations, most people with diabetes are fully capable of working and performing the majority of jobs that exist in our local and national economies. However, depending on the job or an individual’s particular diabetes-related treatment needs, an employee with diabetes might need his employer to alter certain policies or work-place rules so that he can manage his diabetes while still performing the essential functions of his job. When an employer, private or public, refuses to allow an individual with diabetes the opportunity to perform a job that he’s qualified to do – whether it is because of the employer’s lack of understanding about diabetes, an unwillingness to provide a reasonable accommodation, or for some other reason that is not justified – the employer has violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (the ADA).

New Federal Legislation Aims to Protect People with Diabetes


What is the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (formerly known as the ADA Restoration Act of 2007)?

“ADA” stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act, an act that was intended to protect people with disabilities from discrimination.  As its title implies, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 is a bill that would make changes to the ADA.  The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 restores the definition of “disability,” after court decisions distorted the definition.  These distortions made it nearly impossible for people with certain disabilities in some circumstances to be protected by the ADA.  The changes provided by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 are regarded as so necessary that they have been described by members of both political parties as “historic” and “landmark.”

Why is the ADA Amendment Act of 2008 necessary?

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Illinois Institute of Technology