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Employer’s Decision to Not Employ Truck Driver with Alcoholism is No Violation of ADA

In Jarvela v. Crete Carrier Corp (June 2014), the 11th Circuit addressed an employee’s, Sakera Jarvela, appeal of summary judgment in favor of the employer, Crete Carrier Corp, regarding Jarvela’s claims of violations under the ADA and FMLA due to his termination. Sakera Jarvela, a commercial truck driver suffered from alcoholism. Jarvela’s employer had a policy that prohibits the company from employing anyone who had diagnosis of alcoholism within the past five years, and claimed this was a safety-based rule due to business necessity. When Jarvela was diagnosed with alcoholism, Crete dismissed him, and cited regulations from the Department of Transportation, as well as the company’s policies. In affirming the district court’s decision in favor of the employer, the 11th Circuit held Jarvela was not entitled to drive a truck under the DOT regulations, and that his FMLA claim failed because the employer had a reason other than the FMLA leave to terminate Jarvela.

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* Cathleen Scott is licensed to practice in Florida only.

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