EEOC: ADA Violated When Trucking Company Wouldn’t Hire Veteran Who Used Service Dog

A trucking company’s change of heart to allow applicants for drivers’ jobs to use a service dog came too late for a veteran who suffered from PTSD, a recent Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit against the company charged in a suit filed on Thursday.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed this lawsuit on behalf of Leon Laferriere, who applied for a truck driver position with CRST Expedited Inc., in Fort Myers, Florida 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.

At 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, the commission alleged.

“The use of a trained service dog can be a reasonable accom­modation. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to an employee with a disability,” said Gregory Gochanour, regional attorney for the Chicago District.

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