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Paramedic wins employment discrimination claim

Many Florida residents are helped by local paramedics when circumstances warrant. A female paramedic from another state claims that she was the victim of employment discrimination due to her medical condition. The plaintiff was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 12 years old. In 2009, she was hired by a fire department as a reserve paramedic and later became a full-time employee. She claims that that her employer was aware of her condition when she applied for the position but still hired her anyways.

During the year and a half that she was a paramedic, her blood-sugar levels dropped twice while she was at work. Her levels fell once while she was tending to a patient in the ambulance and a separate time while she was driving. Her partner requested to no longer work with her after the second episode. The plaintiff was told that she could no longer work until the medical director approved her return.

A month later, the plaintiff was cleared to return, but with restrictions for several weeks. She was not permitted to drive department vehicles until her blood sugar had stabilized on her medication. Although the plaintiff was cleared to return to work, she alleges that she was placed on a paid leave. Two weeks after she should have been back to work, she was terminated.

She filed a federal lawsuit against the department, accusing it of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. A jury ruled in her favor and awarded $223,500 with regard to her employment discrimination claim. It is important for Florida employees with disabilities and the companies that hire them to remain in communication with one another regarding any medical conditions tht may require a change in work duties. This will alert the employers to any needs that the employees may have so that reasonable accommodations can be made. If those accommodations are denied, legal action may be necessary.

Source: indystar.com, "Paramedic fired for her diabetes wins disability discrimination suit", Kristine Guerra, Aug. 4, 2015

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