JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a lawsuit March 3 against CRST Expedited Inc., a national trucking company, for allegations of failing to accommodate a job candidate who used a service dog.
The EEOC alleges that Leon Laferriere applied to be a truck driver with CRST in Fort Myers, Florida, and signed up for a divers’ certification course. After being admitted but before beginning the program, Laferriere allegedly disclosed disabilities and use of a service dog. Laferriere, a veteran, struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and uses the service dog to help him cope with anxiety and deal with nightmares.
"Laferriere did the right thing by disclosing that he used a service dog due to disabilities to the CRST recruiter before leaving for the driver's certification course," said Julianne Bowman, district director for the EEOC's Chicago District office, which investigated the charge of discrimination.
According to the EEOC, the company denied Laferriere advancement to orientation because of its “no pet policy.” Alleged conduct of this nature violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.
"CRST's refusal to accommodate Mr. Laferriere is an example of the hardships that returning veterans with disabilities can face as they seek to reintegrate into civilian life,” said Jean Kamp, associate regional attorney for the Chicago District. “Those challenges are hard enough without an employer denying someone a job simply because he needs a service dog, as so many do."
The EEOC seeks back pay and front pay, and punitive and compensatory damages, for Laferriere. It also seeks a permanent injunction to bar future discrimination by CRST.