My name is Tracy Kronowitt and I have had type 1 diabetes since I was 3 1/2 years old. I am now 46 1/2, brittle, and pretty careful in my care. I have no major complications from the disease except that I occasionally pass out from low blood sugars. This has been happening to me since I was first diagnosed and have worked with numerous doctors and research projects as well as therapies to try to overcome it. Nothing has worked 100% of the time.
The issue at any job I have had in the last 9 years, for the most part, has been the passing out. I seem to be "let go" soon afteer this occurs. I cannot prove it is the diabetes that causes me to lose jobs but I honestly feel I am a very good employee that tries hard and generally keeps a very positive attitude but it has not helped me much for quite some time now.
I need help in understanding what my rights are as a person with diabetes in the workplace. I know I am covered federally under the Americans with Disabilities Act but because Florida is a "Right to Work" state I keep being told that I have no rights and that employers can fire anyone for any reason at any time without any documentation. Is this true? And, if so, how do I fight back so that I can keep working? I really enjoy working and learning and interacting with people and, of course, trying to help people but it has been more than a difficult struggle and I really need help. Please advise or direct me. Thank you.
I only had to face this kind of discrimination at one job and they didn’t want to fire me but they had me jumping through an extraordinary number of hoops and seeking access to my medical records, my doctor – it was WAY out of line. I haven’t used them but I know the ADA has resources to help with these types of issues: http://www.diabetes.org/advocacy-and-legalresources/discrimination.jsp
They say you can call them directly at 1-800-DIABETES to get an information packet and have them put you in touch with one of their legal advisors. It is probably a good place to start.
I expect it will be helpful for a lot of people if you can document your experiences, what you find out and what happens so we all know!
Good luck and let us know how how you progress!
I have a friend that is a lawyer and he suggested the same thing as A-D, that you need to contact the ADA and they can advise you.
Hi A-D and Gina. Thank you for your kind information. I followed up and tried to learn what I could. I also contacted a lawyer's office for a free consultation to try to learn how to protect myself so I am no longer a sitting duck. I am being offered a position at the company I have been externing at as far as I know but I still want to be prepared. Thank you again for all of your help.
Hi, Tracy... Is Florida a "Right to work" state or an "At will" state?
When living in Nevada, I called the Labor Department to find out exactly what "Right to work" meant.
Right to work = You don't have to join the union at a job, if there is one. You have the right to work in that particular workplace, even if you don't want to join the employee's union that is there.
At will = This term is more what you are talking about. An "At will" company can fire you without cause. But you can also quit for the same reason.
So, check to see what kind of state Florida is. Hope that clears things up!
The ADA is federal, therefore takes precedence over any state law. Been there done that as far as firings go... just try and prove it. I wish you luck
Thank you Sharon. I am still waiting to hear about the job that I have externed for at CVS. In other words, I took an on-line course and did very well in a short period of time, then performed over 200 hours of absolutely free service to CVS and was told I would be put on the payroll part-time for 2 months as of August 13th until season starts and then they would open me up for any amount of hours that I could handle as a Pharmacy Tech.
With everyone's support and inspiration keeping me going I am hoping that this will come to fruition. At least I have hope!
Just to let anyone know who is following this that I am in the system at CVS but still waiting to finish being put into the system and still waiting to get paid. Maybe soon.
Thank you so much for the information you provided. When i looked at the website I wound up contacting a lawyer's office listed and they actually said that there was nothing I could do. I also tried to contact a disability website listed there and they said that it would cost well over $1,000 to join their disability group. I am at a loss and hoping things work out.
Thanks Gina. I have tried a few different sources and none are helping. They are either claiming that I cannot do anything or trying to charge an exorbitant amount to join a disability group. What is it with this world? I wish I knew. Thanks again. Take care. It must be me.
Wow, this is stinky for you. Though, an idea is to learn from the past? Did you comunicate with your company about the fainting, and what were their biggest issues. Seriously, did you have to contact an ambulance each time? Did it happen every week? Could you have had a co-worker, who could work an epi-shot, just inject and have you good to go in an hour and then promise an extra hour to the company. Or was your fainting disruptive? Again, if they are legally ok with this, they should discuss what the issue might have been. Maybe the both of could communicate the issues openly. You should do that with your new boss. Say, 'hey, you've hired me and I'm good, but I have this, and this happens. I would like for you to be ok with that and this is how you could be ok with this happening.'