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A military veteran and truck driver in training has filed a lawsuit against CRST Expedited after they allegedly refused to hire him because of his use of a service dog.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Leon Laferriere, a military veteran, was accepted into the truck driver training program at CRST Expedited and completed their driving school. However, as CRST was arranging for a trainee driving position for him, Laferriere informed the company of his use of a service dog, going against the company’s “no pet” policy. CRST then denied Laferriere a chance at advancing to on-the-road training.
Following CRST’s refusal to give him a job, Laferriere filed a lawsuit against the trucking company with the help of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, who believes that CRST’s denying employment to Laferriere is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Laferriere says that his dog helps him to control anxiety and wakes him from nightmares caused by his post traumatic stress disorder, making the animal essential to Laferriere’s everyday life. However, CRST claims that Laferriere’s dog did not “appear to be certified or trained as a service dog,” and that he failed to notify the company of his disability and required service animal “until late in the process of CRST’s efforts to arrange a trainee driving position for him.”
CRST also claims that Laferriere’s dog caused “substantial damage” to the hotel room provided to him over the course of his time at driving school, reported CCJ.
Since the filing of the lawsuit, CRST developed a new “Service Dog Process” as a way to deal with service dog requests but has prevented Laferriere from qualifying for the new policy.
“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 associate regional attorney for the Chicago District, Jean Kamp.
“Those challenges are hard enough without an employer denying someone a job simply because he needs a service dog, as so many do,” Kamp continued.
The lawsuit requests that CRST hires Laferriere, as well as paying him front and back pay and compensatory and punitive damages. The trial has been scheduled for November 5th, 2018 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
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