Follow DOT rules for drivers with disabilities — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Follow DOT rules for drivers with disabilities

by on
in Employment Law,Human Resources

When it comes to highway safety, disabled employees may lose some rights. While employers can and must accommodate many disabilities for most positions, that’s not always the case for jobs that require driving commercial vehicles.

The U.S. Department of Trans­por­tation (DOT) has strict medical requirements for obtaining a commercial license. Those include medical recertification when an employee has been on disability leave, or at regular intervals if he or she suffers from specific disabilities like diabetes.

Employers that list driving a commercial vehicle as an essential function of a position can rest assured that if a disabled employee cannot get recertified under DOT regulations, there is no need to offer other accommodations. An employee lacking certification isn’t otherwise qualified for the job and therefore not covered by the ADA.

Recent case: Benjamin Tate worked as a delivery driver, restocking Pepsi products on a set route. The job re­­quired a commercial driver’s license.

Tate had to take disability leave when he checked into a psychiatric ward for inpatient treatment. He was diagnosed with a psychotic disorder with paranoid delusions and received medications to treat the condition.

When he was released for work, he had to undergo DOT re­­cer­ti­­f­­ication required for every­­one who has taken disability leave. His doctors couldn’t issue the certification because of the medications he had to take. His employer then refused to reinstate him to his former position, but offered him other jobs.

Tate refused and sued, arguing that he should have been accommodated.

The court disagreed, ruling that without DOT certification, he wasn’t qualified to perform the essential functions of his job—driving. It also noted that nothing in the ADA says that employers have to ignore other safety regulations such as those issued by the DOT. (Tate v. NC Pepsi, No. 3:09-CV-36, WD NC, 2011)

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jeffery Cottingham May 6, 2013 at 1:24 pm

What abut a persn witha lung deiese like cpd and they have too be on n oxygen aand they have a oxygen concrater instead of tanks the only thing that they would need is a power inveter for the oxygen contreator but would need to be recertified and need to go to a driving school and get recertified plet me know the regulations on this.

Reply

Leave a Comment