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Thursday, June 20, 2024 | Back issues
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Diabetics Say Bus Company Discriminates

ELIZABETH, N.J. (CN) - Three employees say Coach USA Bus Lines suspends diabetic drivers without pay if their urine tests positive for high glucose levels. The workers say Coach has no "medically justified" for this, and that it constitutes disability discrimination and a hostile work environment.

The complaint in Union County Court states that Coach has a "protocol for diabetes mellitus" policy in employment agreements that allows it to administer an A1C test that "measures the average of blood glucose levels in the body over a three-month period." Drivers with a glucose level higher than 7 percent are not allowed to drive a bus again "unless an A1C of less than 7 percent is achieved," according to the complaint.

The men say this is "a blanket exclusionary policy which effectively prevents anyone with an A1C score above 7 percent from working as a bus driver."

They say the Federal Motor Carriage Safety Administration does "not restrict non-insulin dependent diabetics such as the plaintiffs from holding a commercial driver's license or driving a commercial vehicle" and "does not require diabetic drivers who do not take insulin to have an A1C score below any given level to meet the federal medical standard" to drive a bus.

The plaintiffs claim Coach USA is wrongfully applying standards and regulations of insulin-dependent diabetics to them and that an A1C cutoff score "should never be a determinative factor in employment."

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that can cause excess blood sugar and other health problems. It can be controlled with injections of insulin. Some states have laws that monitor diabetics who operate vehicles as part of their employment.

The plaintiffs sued Stagecoach Group, Coach USA, Community Coach and Dr. Jeffrey S. Liva , who administered the glucose test. They seek damages and an injunction providing accommodation for their disabilities.

They are represented by Robert Hermann with Hermann & Bateman of Westfield, N.J.

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