SW Legal studies in Business

Federal Safety Standards Can Be Basis of Physical Requirements for Employment
Description Appeals court affirmed that an employer could dismiss an employee who drove a truck for them once the employee began to take medication needed to control seizures. Medical standards of the Department of Transportation covered such conditions, giving the employer a clear safety standard to follow.
Topic Employment Discrimination
Key Words Disability; Physical Requirements; Federal Standards
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Farmland hired Tate in 1987 to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) hauling propane. In 1995, he began taking anti-seizure medication to control focal seizures that affected the left side of his body. In 1998, Farmland fired Tate due to his health condition, which left him physically unqualified to operate a CMV. Tate sued for violation of the ADA. The trial court dismissed the suit; Tate appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. Under the ADA, an employer may rely on a reasonable interpretation of the Department of Transportation (DOT) medical advisory criteria to establish physical requirements for CMV operators, provided the employer does so consistently and uniformly. The fact that Tate had to take medication to control seizures made him unable to meet a job-related requirement of the employment position established under DOT standards.

Citation Tate v. Farmland Industries, Inc., 268 F.3d 989 (10th Cir., 2001)

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