Trucks are involved in an alarming number of accidents. Due to their massive size and weight, the collisions that they cause can lead to devastating injuries for the other motorists and pedestrians involved. A recent study conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, along with the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, concluded that truck drivers are twice as likely to suffer from obesity as adults in other industries and occupations. The study also showed that truck operators have a higher likelihood of being avid smokers and tend to suffer from more chronic illnesses.
To address the issues associated with these health conditions, Crete Carrier Corporation adopted a policy requiring truck operators with a body mass index of 35 or higher to undergo frequent medical examinations to ensure that they do not suffer from sleep apnea. This condition is a potentially dangerous disorder in which the individual may stop breathing suddenly while sleeping. These pauses in breathing may result in a number of side effects, including restlessness, exhaustion, and an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, heart failure, or high blood pressure. If a driver was diagnosed as having sleep apnea, he or she was ordered to undergo a medical treatment plan.
One of Crete’s drivers refused to undergo the required medical examination, stating that it was a violation of the American Disabilities Act because it required individuals with an actual or perceived illness to submit to extra requirements. According to the driver, the company stopped assigning work to him, resulting in financial losses. The driver then initiated a discrimination lawsuit against the company. Crete moved for summary judgment, and the lower court granted the motion, thereby dismissing the lawsuit. The driver appealed.