When one of the largest truck carriers in the United States applied an “inflexible leave policy” and fired two employees with disabilities, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged that doing so was a violation of the Americans Disabilities Act (ADA). The employees had exhausted their medical leave.
In one instance, a mechanic based in Florida requested additional leave beyond the 12 weeks that the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to attend to a staph infection requiring surgery. In another case, a truck driver based in Houston had complications from pneumonia and needed additional leave. Both workers were fired while they were home recovering.
The EEOC alleges that the firings are violations of the ADA because the law protects employees from discrimination, so long as they can perform the essential functions of their jobs with a reasonable accommodation that does not cause a hardship for the employer.
The EEOC has requested compensatory damages, punitive damages, and back pay.