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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Schneider National, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
481 F.3d 507 (7th Cir. 2007)


Facts

Jerome Hoefner was a truck driver for Schneider National, Inc. (Schneider) (defendant), which was the largest truck company in the United States at the time. In 2002, Hoefner was diagnosed with a disorder of the nervous system called neurocardiogenic syncope, which put Hoefner at a risk of sudden fainting spells. Neurocardiogenic syncope was treatable with medicine, but the medicine did not completely protect against fainting spells. Schneider had a policy not to employ individuals who had been diagnosed with neurocardiogenic syncope. Schneider had instituted this policy after another driver with the same disorder, Michael Kupsky, drove his truck off a bridge and died. Although it was unclear whether Kupsky had fallen asleep or suffered from a fainting spell, Schneider instituted the policy to lower the risk of liability for deaths caused by its drivers. Pursuant to this policy, Schneider dismissed Hoefner from employment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued Schneider on behalf of Hoefner, alleging that Hoefner’s dismissal violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. The EEOC argued that Schneider mistakenly believed Hoefner’s disorder was a disability and had discriminated against Hoefner on that basis. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Schneider. The EEOC appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Posner, J.)

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