For the final two years, James Wilson has labored as a behavioral well being technician at an habit therapy middle in Illinois. James has discovered nice which means on this work with rehabilitation sufferers and has loved his duty of conducting affected person checks across the 23-acre campus.

James’ kind 2 diabetes by no means interfered with this job till final spring, when he started to develop diabetes-related foot ache. He initially took some depart beneath the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to deal with his foot problems. He needed to put on a solid twice, in addition to a boot for a while. Unfortunately, the problems worsened, and James developed a life-threatening an infection. His solely viable possibility was to have his toe amputated.

When his FMLA depart ran out, James was instructed by his employer that he was not entitled to some other kind of depart beneath the regulation. James researched his rights beneath the Americans with Disabilities Act and discovered that he’s protected in opposition to incapacity discrimination and is entitled to affordable lodging. He reached out to his employer to debate doable affordable lodging that may allow him to proceed to do his job, considering, for instance, that a scooter may be a workable possibility to permit him to proceed to do his affected person checks across the campus. However, his employer refused to entertain his strategies. His employer additionally turned nonresponsive when requested about incapacity insurance coverage to which he was entitled.

James had been out of labor for 2 months, with none pay or incapacity advantages and with none phrase from his employer. As far as he was involved, his employer had each intention of “just forgetting [he] existed.”

Feeling distraught and discouraged, James contacted our Legal Advocacy Department for info and steering about his authorized rights. A Legal Advocacy legal professional walked James by means of his rights beneath federal antidiscrimination legal guidelines. They mentioned doable affordable lodging that he may be entitled to, similar to prolonged depart or different lodging that would allow him to do his rounds. They additionally mentioned doable motion steps and explored grievance choices.

James quickly discovered that his employer had shut down the power the place he labored, so gaining employment once more was not a viable possibility. However, armed with information about his authorized rights, James felt a brand new sense of confidence and determined to put in writing a letter to this former employer, each to coach them in regards to the rights of individuals with diabetes and the obligations of employers and to request that they observe by means of with backpay and incapacity advantages.

On the exact same day that James despatched the letter to his employer, he acquired a response. James shared the good information with our Legal Advocacy crew: “I took your advice and wrote a letter to my employer. It worked like magic. My employer…pushed my disability claim through their insurance, and they paid me retroactively…It was truly a godsend that I contacted you. I want to sincerely thank you, and I am knocked out by the service you provide to others…”


The American Diabetes Association leads the hassle to forestall and get rid of discrimination in opposition to folks with diabetes at work, at college and in different elements of day by day life. If you need assistance, name 1-800-DIABETES or go to diabetes.org/gethelp.



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