A federal jury in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee returned a verdict in favor of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and a man who was fired for having type 1 diabetes.
According to an October 31, 2002, EEOC news release, Kevin Armstrong, who was hired by Northwest Airlines as a baggage handler in May 1998, later had his job offer withdrawn when the company discovered he had type 1. A lawsuit was filed in September 2000.
The jury rejected the claim by Northwest Airlines that “Armstrong posed a direct threat to himself or others because his insulin-dependent diabetes was poorly controlled.”
The EEOC and Armstrong were awarded $19,250 in compensatory damages and $21,000 in back pay.
“The verdict in this case should remind all employers that hiring decisions should be based on the applicant’s real abilities and not stereotypical ideas about the applicant’s disability,” said Katharine Kores, EEOC acting district director in Memphis, Tennessee.