American Diabetes Association Applauds New Rules Protecting the Rights of Workers with Disabilities

March 24, 2011

The American Diabetes Association applauds the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for its publication of reasonable and clear regulations protecting the rights of people with diabetes and other disabilities in the workplace. The regulations implement amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act, signed into law in 2008.  These amendments clarified that the law should be applied broadly to ban discrimination in employment and other areas against people with a broad range of chronic health conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, HIV infection, cancer and mental illness – and reversed a series of Supreme Court decisions that had severely limited those rights. 

The Association was a leader in the coalition of disability organizations and business groups whose combined efforts resulted in the unanimous passage of this law in Congress. Prior to these amendments, many of the nearly 26 million Americans living with diabetes found themselves no longer protected against employment discrimination. The Association is pleased that the regulations reflect Congress’s intent that certain conditions, such as diabetes, will virtually always be found to be disabilities under the law.  This is the case for diabetes because of the disease’s impact on endocrine function.  As a result, the Association expects to see many more people with diabetes and other disabilities in the workforce, benefiting employers, who can capitalize on their talents, and the economy overall.

“This is a major advance in ensuring that all people will be judged based on their ability to do their job, not barred at the door because they have diabetes or another disability,” said John W. Griffin, Jr., Chair of the Board, American Diabetes Association. “The rules will benefit workers and employers alike by greatly simplifying the determination as to whether an individual is covered under the law and allowing the focus to turn to where it should be: whether an individual was discriminated against because of diabetes.”

Learn more about the legal rights of people with diabetes.

About the American Diabetes Association

Nearly half of American adults have diabetes or prediabetes; more than 30 million adults and children have diabetes; and every 21 seconds, another individual is diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S. Founded in 1940, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization whose mission is to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. The ADA drives discovery by funding research to treat, manage and prevent all types of diabetes, as well as to search for cures; raises voice to the urgency of the diabetes epidemic; and works to safeguard policies and programs that protect people with diabetes. In addition, the ADA supports people living with diabetes, those at risk of developing diabetes, and the health care professionals who serve them through information and programs that can improve health outcomes and quality of life. For more information, please call the ADA at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit Information from both of these sources is available in English and Spanish. Find us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn)