Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The 5th nominee for the “worst employer of 2017” is … the no-pets-for-vets policy

The EEOC recently sued a Florida trucking company for disability discrimination, alleging it failed to accommodate, refused to hire, and retaliated against a job candidate because he used a service dog. (Complaint here [pdf])

So far, so bad. But it gets worse. From the EEOC:
Leon Laferriere applied for a truck driver position with CRST in Fort Myers and signed up for the drivers’ certification course with CRST’s partner training company. After being admitted to the truck driver training program, but prior to leaving for to begin it, Laferriere disclosed his disabilities and use of a trained service dog. Laferriere is a veteran who uses a trained service dog to help control anxiety and to wake him from nightmares caused by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Laferriere successfully completed the training program, but was denied advancement to orientation and additional on-the-road training. CRST told Laferriere that he could not advance to the on-the-road program, which requires overnights away from home, due to CRST’s “no pet” policy. Laferriere was subsequently denied hire. 
The EEOC also alleges that around the same time that CRST denied Laferriere’s request for accom­modation, CRST developed a new “Service Dog Process” to address accommodation requests seeking the use of a service dog. But CRST denied Laferriere the opportunity to qualify for accommodation under the new policy.
According to the EEOC, Title I of the ADA does not require that employers permit disabled employees to bring service animals to work. Instead, an employer must consider allowing a service animal into the workplace on a case-by-case basis as a reasonable accommodation. Yet, when you have a formal “Service Dog Process” to address this very issue, it’s becomes hard, if not impossible, to argue the unreasonableness of the accommodation without any consideration at all.

For that reason, I nominate this employer for consideration for the “worst employer of 2017.”