- Amputee Truck Driver Loses Claims of Discriminatory Discharge and Retaliation
- December 21, 2009 | Author: Linda K. Horras
- Law Firm: Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP - Chicago Office
A trucking company hired a truck driver with a prosthetic leg, knowing of his disability. The driver was assigned to a nightshift route and worked for several years without significant incidents. He was, however, never selected as a lead driver. After the driver was passed over for a number of promotions and disciplined for poor work performance, he filed several charges of discrimination and ultimately sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The district court granted the employer’s motion for summary judgment. The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed. The appellate court found that the essential duties of the lead driver position included handling scheduling issues and mechanical problems on the truck and the ability to manage other drivers through positive relationships. Because the driver was known to have a negative personality, and other drivers repeatedly complained about their interactions with him, the court held that the employer was justified in not selecting him for a lead driver position. The driver offered no evidence contradicting these reasons. His retaliation claims also failed because he did not show that the employer’s reasons for its decisions were pretextual. Employers should be cautious to treat all employees equally. But they need not treat employees with disabilities specially or provide the exact position or accommodation requested by the employee.
Lloyd v. Swifty Transp. Inc., 07-1476 (7th Cir., Jan. 9, 2009)