New Ruling Protects Type 1s from Discrimination

In a decisive victory for people with diabetes, the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that those who take insulin are protected from discrimination by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In the case of Glen Arnold vs. United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS), the Court of Appeals overruled a lower court, which found that people who successfully control their diabetes are not disabled, therefore they are not protected under the Act. Judges from the First Circuit rejected this notion, saying, that it punished people for effectively treating their diabetes and protected people who did not care for their diabetes.

Glen Arnold, a resident of Maine has had type 1 diabetes for 23 years. He has successfully maintained his diabetes through multiple injections, diet and exercise since he was diagnosed.

Arnold was offered a job as a mechanic at UPS in 1995. He had already worked as a mechanic for six years and had an associate degree in automotive technology when he was offered the job by UPS. Arnold passed UPS’s required driving test, but during the physical exam he was told that his diabetes would prevent him from obtaining a commercial driver’s license. Since UPS requires that its mechanics have a commercial license, the company said it could not hire him. As a result, Arnold sued UPS for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Court of Appeals sided with Arnold stating that the argument presented by UPS and accepted by the lower court directly opposed the intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In writing the legislation, both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives determined that those who could control their condition through medication, or some other form of treatment were still considered disabled and required protection from discrimination.

“He should not be denied the protections of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) because he has independently taken the initiative and successfully brought his diabetes under control,” the First Circuit judges wrote of Arnold.

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