A former driver in Brookline, Mass., alleged his termination violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, but his claims didn't hold up to legal scrutiny.
More than 25 percent of over-the-road truck drivers suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, and those who forego treatment considerably raise their risk of being involved in a fatigue-related motor vehicle crash, according to a University of Minnesota study published last year. Sleep apnea is a common and serious disorder that causes brief interruptions of breathing during sleep. Whether or not driving is part of one’s job in waste management, poor sleep patterns can affect workplace performance.
William McDonald was fired from his job with the Town of Brookline, Mass., for unjustified absences and inadequate documentation of sick leave. He sued his former employer, alleging that his termination violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). He claimed that his poor performance stemmed from sleep apnea, a disability that the town allegedly failed to accommodate. After a six-day trial, a jury found in favor of the town. On appeal, he was again rebuffed.
A legally blind Miami man with cerebral palsy who has filed about 70 similar lawsuits is suing Hawks Cay Resort on Duck Key in federal court, claiming its website fails to allow him access.
Juan Carlos Gil wants Hawks Cay to redo its website so that screen-reader software he uses can be used to access it. Gil also seeks compensation for his time and suffering, saying he tried to plan a vacation to the Keys resort but was stymied by the website’s limitations.
“No price can be put on the plaintiff’s inability to shop for himself,” his attorney Scott Dinin of Miami wrote in the 32-page complaint against Hawks Cay.
When a typical business evaluates whether its facilities are in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), it usually considers whether it has provided appropriate physical accommodations, such as wheelchair ramps or bathroom handrails.
Most businesses, however, have not yet considered appropriate accommodations for the use of their corporate websites, including the use of speech recognition software, closed captioning and other assistive technologies.
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and numerous courts have determined that the ADA requires businesses to make their websites accessible to disabled persons. This development has spurred significant litigation and, in some instances, resulted in substantial settlements.
The sudden dismissal of an Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuit in Virginia has advocates concerned that a systematic weakening of the federal law has begun.