In a decision with potential implications for the nation's 24 million diabetics, a federal appeals court ruled Friday that a Type 2 diabetes patient may be entitled to the protections of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
A lower court was wrong to dismiss a case brought by Larry Rohr of Mesa, Ariz. -- who alleged that his public-utility employer discriminated against the disabled in pushing him out of his job -- on the grounds that his disease did not constitute a disability, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
The three-judge panel also found fault with the employer's grounds for insisting that Rohr take a lower-paying job, disability benefits or early retirement because he failed to take a test showing he could use a respirator that had little to do with his work as a welding metallurgy specialist. Rohr said his job was mainly office work.
Rohr's dismissal after 23 years with the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District may have constituted discrimination against the disabled, as it was in response to a request from Rohr's doctor that he be exempted from occasional out-of-area assignments that interfered with his insulin treatment and diet regimen, the judges concluded.