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Sugar Land: Brandon's Story

I am a Texas Fireman with Type 1 Diabetes. I currently hold numerous Certifications on a State and Federal Level. I have been in the fire service for over eight years and currently employed by a Department in Texas. I manage my Diabetes by proper diet, exercise and educating myself with the disease.

I was hired in Aug. 03 by a well known City Fire Department after I passed a written test and a Fitness/Physical test as well as a Full City Doctor eval. At time of application and at my Dr. Visit I disclosed my Diabetes and it appeared to not be a problem. After almost two years of employment, I had one single incident at the station where I had a low blood sugar reaction and went home sick. I did not get transported by Ambulance and drove myself home.

I was requested to see the City Dr. when I returned to work. The Dr. Visit was only 12 minutes long, no testing, blood work or even a simple talk. The Dr. came into the office and said "The City said you have Diabetes and you can't be a Firefighter". I was sent back to the Fire Administration where the Chief moved me to the Inspector/Investigator division.

I filed a complaint with the EEOC and went through the Texas Chain of Complaints. The EEOC found after weeks of investigations and interview's that the City violated the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 and found areas of Discrimination, Retaliation, and a Violation of FMLA. EEOC advised the City to reach a just resolution in the matter which the City turned there head.

I obtained a Lawyer and filled a case in Federal Courts while the Civil Rights Division gave us permission to file a suit against the City. The American Diabetes Association has laid the ground work for my case with the research and commitment to Diabetes.

The City was offering my job back but wanted some stipulations with my employment that were not reasonable. From day one, I simply wanted to work and do what I have been trained to do so well.

I feel everyone should be treated fairly regardless of Age, Sex, Color or Disability's. If you pass the required testing phase and you can perform the required job duties, you should be able to work.

Unfair Discrimination and blanket ban against Diabetes is uncalled for in the Workplace. Diabetes is a way of life that can be controlled.

Thanks for reading and everything you do.

Editor's Note:  For more on Brandon's crusade to raise awareness, visit the ABC13 site. 

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Anyone else see the irony of this occurring in "Sugar Land?"

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