Trucking Company Told It Can't Fire Alcoholic Drivers

U.S. sees it as a violation of Americans With Disabilities Act
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2011 4:45 PM CDT
A trucking company wants to keep alcoholic drivers away from its trucks for good, but the feds say that's illegal.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A facet of the American With Disabilities Act that probably never came up in the planning sessions: A trucking company is being sued by the federal government because it refuses to let an admitted alcoholic drive an 18-wheeler, reports the Heritage Foundation. Because alcoholism is classified as a disability under the ADA, the government says the Old Dominion Freight Line cannot permanently bar the man from driving.

The driver informed the company of his drinking problem, and Old Dominion suspended him and referred him to counseling, but told him he would never return as a driver. That was too hasty, declared the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. “The ADA mandates that persons with disabilities have an equal opportunity to achieve in the workplace," says an EEOC official. "Old Dominion’s policy and practice of never returning an employee who self-reports an alcohol problem to a driving position violates that law." The suit got filed earlier this month. (Read more Americans With Disabilities Act stories.)

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