Fired Worker Blames JetBlue for Seizure

     BOSTON (CN) – JetBlue Airways would not let a sober crew member take his epilepsy medicine while holding him for hours before a breathalyzer test, which set off a seizure, the fired worker claims in court.
     Roberto Rodriguez claims JetBlue removed him from a plane and made him “submit to a random alcohol test,” apparently because he showed up late to work. Rodriguez claims the hotel he had stayed at failed to give him a wake-up call, and that when he called his bosses to say so, he was told “not to worry” and “to go directly to the airport,” which he did.
     Rodriguez says he did not drink any alcohol within eight hours of reporting for work, though a co-worker, S.M., who had stayed at the same hotel, “was allegedly showing signs of alcohol intoxication.”
     Rodriguez says he was “not exhibiting any symptoms of alcohol intoxication, but was required to exit the plane and was taken into JetBlue’s custody to submit to a breathalyzer.”
     The complaint continues: “After being taken into JetBlue’s offices at the airport, [JetBlue employees] D. Rodriguez and Ms. Ayala took Mr. Rodriguez’s baggage from him. At that time, Mr. Rodriguez informed them that he had to keep his baggage with him because he had medication he had to take at regularly scheduled intervals because he is epileptic. D. Rodriguez and Ms. Ayala acknowledged that he had to take medication, but refused him access to his medication and water.”
     Rodriguez says he had to wait more than 2 hours for the breathalyzer tech to show up, during which time he “repeatedly pled with D. Rodriguez and Ms. Ayala to permit him take his medicine because he was epileptic and could not miss a dosage.”
     By the time they let him take his medicine, Rodriguez says: “He was lightheaded, dizzy, confused, and having trouble hearing and basically exhibiting the symptoms of the onset of an epileptic seizure.
     “Despite having the onset of an epileptic seizure, Mr. Rodriguez was informed that he must take the breathalyzer test.
     “He was then led to another room for the test whereupon he slipped into an epileptic seizure and lost consciousness.”
     Rodriguez says someone called 911 and he was taken to a hospital, where he regained consciousness. After being discharged, he says, he went back to the JetBlue office at the airport, where his manager “sought to have him sign a Crewmember Guidance Report stating that he failed a preliminary breathalyzer test results and refused a confirmation test.”
     But Rodriguez says he “had no recollection of taking any tests and did not refuse a second test because he was in the midst of an epileptic seizure.”
     He adds: “Mr. Rodriguez was in fact incapacitated and unable to take any breathalyzer test because he was having a seizure, was unconscious and subsequently transported to the hospital by ambulance.
     “Because Mr. Rodriguez was medically unable to take a second (confirmation) breathalyzer, if he ever took the first one, JetBlue wrongly recorded it as a refusal to submit to an alcohol test and he was suspended and then terminated.”
     Rodriguez points out: “If a person is in the midst of a seizure, they are unable to perform a breathalyzer test correctly, if at all.”
     He seeks lost wages, and punitive damages for discrimination, retaliation, breach of contract and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
     He is represented by Timothy Cutler.

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