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Employees with diabetes are protected by California law

Many people know about the protections afforded to disabled employees by acts such as the ADA and the FEHA. What may be less common knowledge is just how many conditions are viewed as disabilities and are thus protected by the acts. You might think of a disabled employee as someone who is in a wheelchair, or someone who suffers from a mental disorder, but according to a recent case, physical conditions such as Type II Diabetes are protected as well. This lesson is costing Walgreens almost $200,000.

In 2008, a South San Francisco Walgreens employee consumed a bag of chips worth $1.39 without paying for them first. When a security officer approached her about the incident, she simply wrote a short message informing him that her sugar was low, and that she didn’t have time to pay for them because she was suffering a hypoglycemic attack. Walgreens fired her for the chips theft, despite knowing for over 10 years that she was diabetic. She had been employed by Walgreens for 18 years.

Though the employee was fired back in 2008, Walgreens just recently agreed to settle the case by paying $180,000 to the former long-term employee. Walgreens has also agreed to post a revised accommodation policy for disabled employees as well as provide training in anti-discrimination. While it’s encouraging to know that Walgreens is taking measures to rectify the problem, it’s even more encouraging to know that they were held accountable for their actions.

This is yet another instance of the protections afforded to employees in California. If you have a disability of any kind and you believe your rights were violated by your employer, you may be entitled to compensation. If your employment was terminated, you may even be able to get your job back.

Source: CBS San Francisco Bay Area, “Walgreens To Pay $180K To Settle Disability Discrimination Suit Filed By South San Francisco Woman,” July 2, 2014

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