Transport America Agrees to Pay Trucker $20K to Settle Service Dog Lawsuit
Minneapolis, MN – Mega trucking company, Transport America, has agreed to pay a truck driver more than $20,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
On Tuesday, the EEOC announced that it concurrently filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against Minnesota-based Transport America, and a resolution of the same lawsuit.
The EEOC alleged that Transport America required a truck driver to pay a fee to have a service dog in his truck, although the animal was required as a reasonable accommodation for the driver’s anxiety.
Charging an employee more to have a service animal as a reasonable accommodation can, under certain circumstances, violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), according to the EEOC’s complaint.
Transport America permits drivers to have dogs accompany them, however, the EEOC said its litigation was concentrated on “making sure that the company’s existing policies reflect the requirements when the dog is a qualified service animal.”
The resolution of the lawsuit requires that Transport America pay $22,500 to the trucker, and that it revise its policies to permit qualified employees with disabilities to use a service animal without any additional surcharge or cost to the employee.
“Employers must realize that they can’t place unjustified restrictions on an employee’s rights under federal law to have a service animal with him, regardless of what the company’s policies say,” said Greg Gochanour, regional attorney for the Chicago district, in the EEOC’s announcement.
The EEOC said it was “pleased” with the settlement in this case.
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