An insulin-dependent type 2 diabetic is covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) a federal appeals court recently ruled in Rohr v. Salt River Agricultural District (9th Cir. February 13, 2009).
This is a good case for illustrating what is often the main issue in ADA cases: is the individual "substantially limited" in a "major life activity" on account of the condition?
Larry Rohr was diagnosed with in 2000 with insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes. The key issue was whether his diabetes constituted a "physical impairment" affecting a "major life activity." The court answered this question by determining whether Rohr's diabetes "substantially limited" his eating. This it did for Rohr the court ruled based on the following:
- he cannot eat large meals or skip meals and must eat a snack every few hours
- he must schedule each day's blood tests, medications and food intake
- he sometimes becomes dizzy, symptoms that subside only when he quickly eats something
- a deviation from his diet regimen for more than a meal or two causes his blood sugar level to rise, aggravating his condition
- his personal and recreational travel was limited by his need to avoid disruption to his diet
These factors caused by Rohr's diabetes were so different compared to the general population as to establish that his diabetes substantially limited his eating. Therefore, Rohr's diabetes brought him within the scope and protection of the ADA; put another way, his condition and its effects constituted a "disability" covered by the ADA.
Lexington, Kentucky ADA lawyer Robert Abell represents individuals and employees in disability discrimination and failure to accommodate cases under the ADA; contact him at 859-254-7076.