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Before an offer of employment is made, the employer may not ask any questions about the condition itself, such as how long the applicant has had diabetes, how much medication she takes, or whether anyone else in her family has diabetes.After making a job offer, an employer may ask questions about the applicant's health (including questions about the applicant's disability) and may require a medical examination, as long as all applicants for the same type of job are treated equally (that is, all applicants are asked the same questions and are required to take the same examination).With Type 1 diabetes, the body does not make insulin.With Type 2 diabetes, the more common type, the body does not make or use insulin well.(See "Keeping Medical Information Confidential.") Example 1: An individual applying for a cashier's position at a grocery store voluntarily discloses that she has diabetes and periodically needs to administer insulin and monitor her blood sugar levels.The employer explains that cashiers typically get two 15-minute breaks and 30 minutes for lunch during an eight-hour shift and asks whether she needs an accommodation (for example, more frequent breaks or a longer lunch period).The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 ("Amendments Act" or "ADAAA"), is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities.
An individual with a past history of diabetes (for example, gestational diabetes) also has a disability within the meaning of the ADA.
When an applicant discloses after receiving a conditional job offer that she has diabetes, an employer may ask the applicant additional questions such as how long she has had diabetes; whether she uses insulin or oral medication; whether and how often she experiences hypoglycemic episodes; and/or whether she will need assistance if her blood sugar level drops while at work.
The employer also may send the applicant for a follow-up medical examination or ask her to submit documentation from her doctor answering questions specifically designed to assess her ability to perform the job's functions safely.
Title I of the ADA covers employment by private employers with 15 or more employees as well as state and local government employers.
Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act provides similar protections related to federal employment.