The ADA recognizes alcoholism as a disability. The U.S. Department of Transportation allows workers who report themselves for alcohol abuse to return to driving.
The carrier had not responded to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas in mid-September. Bill Canfill, Old Dominion assistant general counsel, said the carrier would vigorously defend itself.
The driver worked for Old Dominion for five years without incident until late June 2009, when he told his supervisor he had an alcohol problem and was suspended.
He started meeting with Alcoholics Anonymous June 29. He met July 1 with a DOT-certified counselor, who said the driver would have out-patient treatment and could return to work.
That day, supervisors told him he probably couldn’t return. The commission stated earlier that year that other Old Dominion “banned” drivers who reported substance abuse were fired.
The employer had allegedly told him he could become a part-time dock worker but without benefits.
The driver is said to have believed he would have to pay for private out-patient treatment, for which he would be reimbursed only if insurance approved the care. He told his supervisor he could afford only group treatment and was attending it.
Old Dominion says it fired him for job abandonment July 24.
EEOC sued to reinstate the driver’s job, back pay, compensatory and punitive damages and lost benefit compensation, and an injunction against Old Dominion against future non-ADA compliance.
— Jill Dunn
DOT warns about marketing tactics
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued an alert about companies using aggressive tactics to sell training or products or falsely claiming an association with the agency.
In recent weeks, the FMCSA has received numerous inquiries from carriers about pushy attempts to sell products such as log books. The agency does not sell or endorse companies marketing products. It also does not certify trainers or training companies and does not pre-approve curriculum.
When applying for operating authority, some employer information is made available on the FMCSA public website, which businesses may use to try to market to employers.
The agency wants carriers that receive advertisements improperly claiming an association with the U.S. Department of Transportation or the FMCSA to contact investigator Tom Frazier at (540) 504-6436.