In our recent series on what the law says about diabetes workplace discrimination we’ve been focusing on the protections offered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, there are several other laws which also cover workplace discrimination and diabetes, especially when it comes to complications with the condition:
1. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) requires employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month interval to receive medical treatment and mend from illness, or for an employee to care for a sick family member. Although FMLA doesn’t require it, some employers offer salary continuation or weekly base pay on a reduced rate.
2. Many persons with diabetes fall into the protected age range of 40 or older under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which prohibits an employer from making hiring, job reassignment, or termination decisions on the basis of age.
3. Many employee retirement plans provide for a disability benefit if the disability results in the end of one’s ability to work, or the need to withdraw employee contributions and employer-matching funds in a 401(k) plan early without penalty. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) not only governs retirement plans, but employer-sponsored short-term and long-term disability benefit plans and certain health insurance plans. Although not specific to diabetes, ERISA prohibits employers from excluding participation in employer-sponsored benefit plans based upon disability-related discrimination. The same definitions of disability in the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act also apply to ERISA.
The law is never set in stone, and there are always new laws or new legal challenges to existing law. Insulin Nation will continue to report on any new legal developments in diabetes law as we learn of them.
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