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American Diabetes Association Urges Congress to Pass ADA Restoration Act, Help End Employment Discrimination Against Americans with Diabetes
Date:10/4/2007

Stephen Orr, fired for managing diabetes at work but whose claim was thrown out by the courts, testified Thursday before House Judiciary Subcommittee about his experience

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Oct. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Diabetes Association today reiterated its strong support for the ADA Restoration Act, legislation that would restore the intent of the landmark 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. On Thursday, the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution heard testimony about pending legislation that would ensure that everyone who is qualified for a job has an equal opportunity to work, regardless of disability. Since the original legislation was enacted, a series of Supreme Court rulings have limited the criteria for who is covered by the law, resulting in many individuals with chronic diseases - including diabetes - no longer protected because they don't meet the stringent definition of disability. Their cases are dismissed by courts that never reach the issue of whether they were treated unfairly.

At Thursday's hearing, members of Congress heard testimony from Stephen Orr, an ADA volunteer from South Dakota who was fired from his job as a Wal-Mart pharmacist for taking lunch breaks that were necessary for him to avoid dangerous hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels). Orr was explicitly fired because of his diabetes. He responded by filing a claim against Wal-Mart under the Americans with Disabilities Act but lost when the courts sided with the retail chain in saying that he was not "disabled" since his diabetes could be successfully managed with insulin and diet. Because the Supreme Court directs courts to consider "mitigating measures" - including medications, prosthetics, diet and exercise, or any other treatment - in deciding whether an individual has a disability, the courts ruled that Orr did so well managing his condition that he was not protected by the law. Further, the courts ignored the fact that Wal-Mart
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SOURCE American Diabetes Association
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