PRACTICE LOCATIONS: VA, DC, MD, NY, NC

contact@spigglelaw.comcontact@spigglelaw.com
  • TALK TO A REAL PERSON
  • 202-980-3857202-980-3857

SPLF Employment Blog

Diabetic Paramedic Wins $725,000 in ADA Discrimination Case

According to the American Diabetes Association, about 9% of Americans have diabetes. Although incurable, most individuals are able to manage their diabetes in such a way that it doesn’t interfere with their everyday life, including their day job. Despite this ability, many people with diabetes are discriminated against on the basis of their diabetes.

However, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s “Questions & Answers About Diabetes in the Workplace and the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA),” such discrimination is illegal. This blog post will discuss one such example of illegal discrimination on the basis of an employee’s diabetic condition.

Rednour v. Wayne Township Fire Department

fireAccording to court records, Kristine Rednour started working for the Wayne Township Fire Department (WTFD) in 2009 as a reserve paramedic. She quickly became a full-time paramedic  even though the WTFD knew she had Type 1 diabetes, which she was diagnosed with when she was 12 years old.

While on the job in 2011, Rednour experienced two instances where her blood sugar dropped dramatically. She was able to remedy the blood sugar lows by drinking sugary drinks. However, the two blood sugar lows affected Rednour’s ability to function as a paramedic.

After the second blood sugar low, Rednour was placed on paid leave until the WTFD’s medical director cleared her for duty. After reviewing Rednour’s situation, the medical director concluded that she could return to work with limited duties and workplace accommodations. However, the WTFD declined to implement these recommendations and instead fired Rednour.

The WTFD’s justification for getting rid of Rednour was that a Type 1 diabetic should not be a paramedic for the WTFD and that Rednour should never have been hired in the first place.

Rednour filed suit, claiming her firing violated the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). At trial, medical experts explained that blood sugar lows of the likes Rednour experienced in 2011 could be prevented if she wore a continuous blood glucose monitor (BGM).

If the BGM detected a drop in blood sugar, Rednour could then take action, such as consuming sugary drinks, as she did in 2011. The difference between Rednour’s 2011 blood sugar lows and a sugar low detected by the BGM is that Rednour could correct the BGM detected lows well before Rednour had any symptoms, such as reduced cognitive function.

The WTFD’s defense was that Rednour couldn’t claim discrimination under the ADA because she didn’t explicitly ask for a reasonable accommodation. The jury disagreed, and Rednour won $223,500 at trial for lost wages, benefits, and emotional distress.

Rednour was also entitled to attorneys’ fees and future lost wages, although those amounts were to be determined later by the court. Before this could occur, Rednour and the WTFD settled the case for an additional $501,500, bringing her total award to $725,000.

Summing It Up

  • The ADA recognizes diabetes as a disability.
  • Public safety professions are not automatically immune to discrimination based on disability. Even if the disability affects the public safety officer’s ability to fulfill her duties, she cannot be discriminated against based on that disability as long as the disability can be accommodated or effectively managed.

 

 

 

Share this post

Latest Articles

The Biggest Theft That Nobody Is Talking About

The Biggest Theft That Nobody Is Talking About

At a time when billionaire extraordinaire Elon Musk is dominating headlines with his multi-billion-dollar buying spree, there is another story worth billions that is curiously absent from our Twitter feeds. Unfortunately, rather than recount the spending of riches, this story tells the tale of one of the greatest thefts in American history. Every hour, millions …

The Biggest Theft That Nobody Is Talking About Read More »

Maryland Passes Two Bills To Strengthen Anti-discrimination and Harassment Protection In The Workplace

Maryland Passes Two Bills To Strengthen Anti-discrimination and Harassment Protection In The Workplace

Last night the Maryland General Assembly passed two bills, SB 450 and SB 451, which will increase protections for victims of harassment and discrimination in the workplace.  SB 450 eliminates the ‘severe or pervasive’ standard for harassment claims and creates a new standard for harassment claims in the workplace. The prior ‘severe or pervasive’ standard …

Maryland Passes Two Bills To Strengthen Anti-discrimination and Harassment Protection In The Workplace Read More »

DMV Survey Series: Wage Theft Edition

DMV Survey Series: Wage Theft Edition

*In this series, the author will explore the differences in specific areas of the law between D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, and hopefully answer the age-old question: which state is best for employees? Please remember that this blog post, like all of our posts, offers general information and is NOT legal advice. – Upon reading this …

DMV Survey Series: Wage Theft Edition Read More »

The Supreme Court Decides to Block and Uphold Biden’s Vaccination Mandates

The Supreme Court Decides to Block and Uphold Biden’s Vaccination Mandates

On January 13, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court made two major decisions. These related to President Biden’s attempts to increase the number of workers who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. The first decision temporarily blocked the vaccinate-or-test regulation that applied to employers with 100 or more employees. The second decision allowed the vaccination requirement …

The Supreme Court Decides to Block and Uphold Biden’s Vaccination Mandates Read More »

Talk To A Real Person