[NFBWATLK] AG proves Haney Truck Line discriminated against employee with service animal

Nightingale, Noel Noel.Nightingale at ed.gov
Tue Jan 31 16:23:42 UTC 2017

From: Washington State Attorney General's Office [mailto:webmaster=atg.wa.gov at mail57.atl161.mcsv.net] On Behalf Of Washington State Attorney General's Office
Sent: Monday, January 30, 2017 2:55 PM
Subject: [Suspect Bulk Mail] AG proves Haney Truck Line discriminated against employee with service animal

An update from Attorney General Bob Ferguson

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Jan. 30, 2016

AG proves Haney Truck Line discriminated against employee with service animal
Yakima company must pay maximum penalty for violating state Law Against Discrimination

OLYMPIA — Following a three-day trial in Yakima, a judge ruled on Friday that Haney Truck Line violated the Washington Law Against Discrimination by refusing to allow an employee with a disability to bring a trained service dog to work, Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced today.

Haney, a Yakima-based heavy haul trucking company that operates in seven states and Canada, was ordered to pay nearly $23,000 in damages and costs for discriminating against an employee with hypoglycemia. The company prohibited her from using her trained service animal, Lucky, who alerts her to dangerous blood sugar drops.

“The Washington Law Against Discrimination contains clear protections for employees who use trained service animals,” said Attorney General Bob Ferguson. “Employers must allow service animals so employees may properly and safely perform their jobs. My office will continue to enforce our laws prohibiting illegal discrimination at work.”

The Washington State Human Rights Commission investigated the complaint, and the Attorney General’s Wing Luke Civil Rights Unit handled the case before the Washington State Office of Administrative Hearings in September.

In her ruling<http://atg.us10.list-manage.com/track/click?u=28a64d02479d9d79402df2b20&id=8ab91798db&e=3ebcb5a62f>, Administrative Law Judge Lisa Dublin said Haney’s management, including its human resources director, “clearly had insufficient knowledge of Washington disability discrimination law, particularly concerning service animals.”

Judge Dublin awarded the victim $20,000 in damages — the maximum amount allowed by law — “for the humiliation and mental suffering caused by (Haney’s) arbitrary denial of Lucky.” She also ordered Haney to pay $2,730 in expenses to the victim.

“Disability discrimination has no place at work,” said Sharon Ortiz, executive director of the Human Rights Commission. “Many people rely on trained service animals to support them in the workplace. The Human Rights Commission will stand up for the rights of all employees, including those who use service animals at work.”

Haney was also ordered to stop improper denials of reasonable accommodations, including for service animals, and its management employees must undergo training.

Haney has two weeks to submit comments and exceptions, if any, to the decision.

Assistant Attorney General Chalia Stallings-Ala’ilima was lead counsel.

The Washington Law Against Discrimination prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disability or honorably discharged veteran or military status.

The Wing Luke Civil Rights Unit was created in 2015 to protect the rights of all Washington residents by enforcing state and federal anti-discrimination laws. It is named for Wing Luke, who served as an Assistant Attorney General for the state of Washington in the late 1950s and early 1960s.  He went on to become the first person of color elected to the Seattle City Council and the first Asian-American elected to public office in the Pacific Northwest.

More information about Washington’s civil rights laws in employment is available at http://www.hum.wa.gov/employment. Individuals who believe they have been victims of employment discrimination can file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission at http://www.hum.wa.gov/discrimination-complaint or can contact the Office of the Attorney General at civilrights at atg.wa.gov.

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The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Visit www.atg.wa.gov<http://atg.us10.list-manage.com/track/click?u=28a64d02479d9d79402df2b20&id=43c1538139&e=3ebcb5a62f> to learn more.

Peter Lavallee, Communications Director, (360) 586-0725; PeterL at atg.wa.gov<mailto:PeterL at atg.wa.gov>

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