Amtrak off-track on disability discrimination

Its formal name is the National Passenger Railroad Corporation. But it is better known to the public as Amtrak. The national rail system has the Hiawatha line running from Milwaukee to Chicago at least a dozen times a day, its website says.

The site makes no mention of a recent settlement of a disability discrimination lawsuit, however. According to the agreement, Amtrak is to pay $112,000 in lost wages and compensatory damages to a man it once offered a job. 

Amtrak reportedly withdrew the job offer of machinist journeyman when it learned the applicant had suffered epileptic seizures. The man had had just three seizures in his entire life. His neurologist told Amtrak that the condition was controlled by medication and that he had not had a seizure in years and that he could do his job safely without any limitations while taking medication.

Yet Amtrak withdrew the job offer to Shawn Moe anyway. Moe said his epilepsy never prevented him from doing his job safely, including in the years he worked for a railroad company before applying with Amtrak. He adds that he has continued to work safely at the job he found after Amtrak withdrew its offer.

The National Law Review notes that the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees with disabilities. The ADA also compels employers to assess a potential worker’s ability to perform his or her job whenever safety concerns are present.

Amtrak employs more than 20,000 people and serves more than 30 million passengers a year.

People who face discrimination from a large company or small can speak with a Milwaukee employment law attorney about pursuit of compensation for damages.


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