Alicia Shantz of Dearborn, Michigan, was looking at a police officer job listing for the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office when she noticed something odd. The job application included the following:
“In order to be a police officer with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department you must meet all qualifications and requirements. Persons unable to meet these standards should not complete this application. Requirements include …. pass a pre-employment medical examination and be in good physical condition, including…. be free from chronic diseases or functional conditions which may impair the efficient performance of duties or endanger the lives of others. This includes diseases such as diabetes.”
Because Alicia has type 1diabetes, she did not apply. But at the same time, she thought this policy was unfair. So she contacted the American Diabetes Association®.
A Legal Advocate at the Association gave Alicia information about the legal rights of people with diabetes. Diabetes is considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and there are employment and other protections for people with disabilities.
Under federal law, an employer cannot deny a person with a disability the opportunity to apply for a job, if he or she can perform the essential duties of the job. This applies whether or not the person needs a reasonable accommodation to do the job. An employer must also provide reasonable accommodations to its employees with disabilities. Examples of accommodations include adjusting a work schedule or providing time for necessary breaks for medical reasons.
To address this diabetes discrimination issue, the Legal Advocate put Alicia in touch with Darcie Brault, a partner with McKnight, Canzano, Smith, Radtke & Brault (a law firm in Royal Oak, Michigan), and a member of the Association’s Advocacy Attorney Network. Darcie sent the Sheriff’s Office a letter that outlined the laws that cover people with diabetes, stating that their policy was illegal—and requesting that the job application language be changed accordingly.
After some back and forth, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office agreed to change the language in its job applications. They will allow people with diabetes (and other disabilities) to apply for police officer jobs in the future.
“It was gratifying to be involved in this process. I believe we educated the Sheriff’s Office, and the result will affect all future disabled applicants.” – Darcie Brault
The American Diabetes Association leads the effort to prevent and eliminate discrimination against people with diabetes at school, at work and in other parts of daily life. If you need help, call 1-800-DIABETES or visit http://diabetes.org/gethelp.
Give the gift of fairness — donate now to help people with diabetes facing discrimination, just like Alicia.