Well, doesn't the defendant have the right to be concerned whether the driver poses a threat to others? Yes, according to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas in its June 24 opinion in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. But, the defendant's policy cut too broadly, because the Code of Federal Regulations requires measuring any risk through an "individualized assessment" of whether the employee can do the job with a reasonable accommodation to his disability (here, alcoholism).
Here is the court: “Old Dominion's no-return policy admits of no such individualized assessment, and provides no such interactive process (between employer and employee) to develop a reasonable accommodation. . . . While the Court appreciates Old Dominion's safety concerns, its no-return policy — which fails to even consider the possibility of accommodation — cannot be justified either on public safety concerns or business necessity considerations. For this reason, it violates the ADA as a matter of law, and amounts to a denial of reasonable accommodation to [the employee]."
The court denied the parties’ cross motions for summary judgment. But the judge held that, after trial when judgment is entered, the judgment will include injunctive relief against Old Dominion from enforcing its no-return policy. Bottom line: The EEOC has zero tolerance for zero tolerance policies.