CRST wants service dog case moved to Iowa

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line staff writer | Thursday, May 18, 2017

CRST Expedited is asking for a lawsuit to be moved to a new venue. The lawsuit claims the trucking company refused to hire a military veteran because of his request to drive with a service dog.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed the complaint March 2 in a Florida federal court on behalf of Leon Laferriere.

Laferriere claimed that CRST rescinded its offer to hire him in June 2015 after he made several requests to let him break the company’s “no pet” policy and let him use a service dog as an accommodation for his post-traumatic stress disorder and mood disorder.

Earlier this month, CRST asked the court to move the case from Florida to Iowa, because “the alleged unlawful employment practice occurred in the Northern District of Iowa where all the decisions relating to Mr. Laferriere’s employment application were made.”

CRST said a plan had been established for Laferriere to conduct his 28-day on-road training period with his brother, who is an experienced truck driver. However, CRST said those plans fell through when his brother decided not to work for the company.

Meanwhile, the EEOC claims it was a violation of 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,” Jean Kamp, an associate regional attorney for the EEOC’s Chicago district, said in a news release. “Those challenges are hard enough without an employer denying someone a job simply because he needs a service dog, as so many do.”

EEOC Attorney Leslie Carter said that Laferriere obtained his commercial driver’s license and currently works for another trucking company.

Carter said the EEOC filed a response on May 17, asking the court to keep the case in Florida.

“We are confident that the Middle District of Florida is the proper venue for this action,” Carter said. “Laferriere was at the driving school CRST directed him to attend in Jacksonville when CRST denied his accommodation request and refused to hire him. Moreover, key records and witnesses are located in Florida, and Laferriere would have worked in Florida as a truck driver.”

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