Monday, September 25, 2023
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Court Upholds Sludge Boat Captain’s Firing

(CN) - The 2nd Circuit upheld the firing of a sludge boat captain with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection who claimed he couldn't provide urine for drug tests due to a bladder condition.

Joseph Kinneary allegedly suffers from paruresis, also known as "shy bladder syndrome," a disability he said the department refused to accommodate.

But the Manhattan-based appeals court pointed out that his employer offered to have his drug test canceled or replaced with a blood test, so long as he submitted a physician's evaluation. He failed to do so.

Kinneary then failed to qualify for his captain's license.

He won on his discrimination claims at trial, and the jury awarded him $100,000 in back pay and $125,000 in other damages, which were later reduced to $25,000.

A three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit reversed.

"We hold that because Kinneary was offered, but failed to qualify for, his captain's license under the accommodation to which he claims he was entitled, Kinneary became unqualified to perform the essential functions of his job and there was no violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act," Judge Peter Hall wrote.

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