Employment Outlook Much Better for Individuals with Diabetes and Disabilities

Judge Sonia Sotomayor is being talked about by everyone lately. That is as it should be – she has been nominated by President Barak Obama to sit on the Supreme Court of the United States.

There is another reason, however, that some people are talking about her, as well. Judge Sotomayor was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on her 10th birthday. One hundred years ago – or even a few decades ago, getting a good job would have been nearly impossible for Judge Sotomayor or even getting a botton-of-the-barrel job.

There was no real understanding of diabetes or disabilities, and there was certainly no understanding that diabetes did not have to be a disability. Once insulin was discovered in 1921, many things started changing for people with diabetes. It made it possible for them to excel and contribute just like anyone else.

After her childhood – reading all the Nancy Drew stories, she wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement. She was advised not to, and this was a good idea because law enforcement and other major employers would not hire a person with diabetes or who took insulin. Things have progressed tremendously, but even today there are some employers who will not hire anyone who takes insulin. Last week, the FBI was challenged for its policy against hiring people who use insulin. The FBI lost the case and now has to comply with the laws that create equal opportunity to everyone.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that very person with diabetes will get a job a t a particular place. They just might not be the best or the right candidate. However, if they are the best candidate, they should get the job whether they have diabetes or not.

Things have progressed a lot in the area of discrimination based on diabetes and disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act created equal rights for people wit disabilities. That was 10 years ago and the fight goes on. Judge Sotomayor is one example of pushing forward to win the fight. Though people are talking about her legal abilities, her ethnic background and her gender, they are also talking about her diabetes.

Judge Sotomayor gives hope to the 24 million people living with diabetes in this country and to others with various disabilities. She will be the example that anyone can fulfill their goals regardless of disabilities. She has become the standard for those who need to see someone who has achieved their goals to the highest station.

It is time for the pockets of employment discrimination to be done away with. Maybe Judge Sotomayor’s example will help get that done.

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