Friday, June 20, 2008

Attempts to improve disability rights law

This story on NPR talks about attempts to revamp disability legislation.

The Americans with Diabilities Act is important to diabetics because it prohibits employers from discriminating against workers with diabetes — theoretically, at least. The story talks about how courts have been splitting hairs over who is disabled enough to qualify for protection under the ADA, which has eliminated protection for many people, such as diabetics.

I feel that this is a very important law, and I'm glad they are trying to improve it. A few years ago, I actually encountered some discrimination because I was diabetic, and quickly discovered that the ADA didn't cover me — the company I worked for was too small.

Luckily, in my case Colorado law stepped in and offered protection where the ADA didn't. The American Diabetic Association hooked me up with a lawyer, who wrote a letter to my boss and got the issue resolved. However, I remember him saying that if writing a letter didn't do the trick, it might not be worth going to court: Courts ruled in favor of diabetics under the ADA only some of the time, and a case with a diabetic had never even been brought to court under Colorado law.

In a later post, I'll explain what happened to me. For right now, suffice it to say that I'm glad to see they are attempting to strengthen the ADA by redefining what qualifies as a disability.

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