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New Jersey diabetic bus drivers allege discrimination

November 28, 2011

Three New Jersey bus drivers allege employment discrimination in that they were suspended for a medical condition that they claimed not to have. The three bus drivers do admit that they are diabetic, but that they are not prone to losing consciousness, hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia that would have prevented them from the safe operation of the buses.

Symptoms such as these are extremely rare for those that are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and are not insulin dependent. Nevertheless, the three drivers allege that they faced approximately 25 months combined suspension during a 7-year period while they were employed by the bus company.

Often in employment discrimination cases, employees are subject to unfair treatment because of certain physical illnesses or characteristics that do not in any way interfere with that individual’s ability to perform his or her job. Proving such discrimination can be complex, but an attorney with a good understanding of employment law often can provide their clients with a favorable outcome.

The New Jersey bus drivers allege that they needlessly lost out on wages due to the discrimination of their employers. This is one of many cases that diabetics have filed recently concerning employment discrimination. Another complaint concerned an employer’s unwillingness to provide a work schedule that would accommodate the health needs of one of their workers with diabetes. Another circumstance involved an employer’s refusal to allow a teacher to bring her diabetic alert dog to the school.

With an aging workforce, we should expect more of these kinds of cases to arise along with the level of the disease. Simply because a worker is diabetic does not mean that they’ll be unable to perform their job.

Source: USA Today, “Three diabetic bus drivers sue Coach USA,” by Alesha Williams, Nov. 16, 2011

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