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Your employment rights as a diabetic in California

On Behalf of | Nov 18, 2016 | Discrimination |

As a diabetic, you may have established a well-oiled daily routine, but that doesn’t mean your boss can take your needs for granted. The federal government provides specific protections for California’s massive working population, and this includes diabetics. Sadly, some employers seem to have missed the memo.

Understanding How Diabetes Impacts Workers

Workers with diabetes may require special accommodations. For instance, many must take breaks to self-administer insulin and monitor their blood-glucose levels. Those whose diabetes also involve related ailments, such as neuropathy, might need to sit down periodically.

These kinds of reasonable accommodations are mandated by federal laws that prohibit workplace discrimination. They vary depending on the individual in question, and they may also include allowances like places to rest during blood sugar attacks or non-penalized leave for medical treatment.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) also prohibits employers from asking you certain questions or harassing you about your diabetes.

How Some Employers Discriminate Against Diabetics

By now, most Californian employers should know that diabetics have unique needs. As one 2016 federal jury decision shows, however, not all companies respect these requirements.

The case in question was prompted by events that occurred at a Tennessee Dollar General store in 2014. According to news sources, a cashier who worked at the store suffered from diabetes. Counting on the fact that company policy allowed diabetics to keep juice near their cash registers to prevent hypoglycemic incidents, she told her superior that she intended to do so, but her supervisor denied her this right.

When the cashier later suffered the early symptoms of an attack, she drank some orange juice that was on sale for $1.69 and paid for it afterward. She was subsequently terminated for her actions.

How Can Californian Diabetics Fight Back?

In the Dollar General case, the worker lodged a complaint with the EEOC, which filed a lawsuit. A jury eventually decided that the company should pay her compensation of $250,000 for the wrongful termination as well as more than $27,000 in back pay.

The key to successfully protecting your worker rights lies in properly documenting and filing cases with the correct agencies. To prove your argument that you were wronged, you must establish evidence of wrongdoing by your employers, coworkers or other parties.

If you believe that you’ve been victimized by workplace discrimination because of diabetes or any other disabling medical condition, the law may be on your side. Talking to trial attorney Barbara Lawless could help.

Ms. Lawless has successfully assisted numerous discrimination victims, including one diabetes sufferer who went on to win a $1,030,000 verdict for wrongful termination and $750,000 for emotional distress. To learn more about your options, get in touch today.