Recent rehab history no bar to school-bus-driver employment

by Walter Olson on February 26, 2012

In Jefferson County, Colorado, police have filed misdemeanor charges against a substitute bus driver for allegedly heading into a crosswalk against the right of way, hitting three middle school students. After questions were raised about the school’s having hired the driver in October — “He was convicted on a DUI in 1992 and he was going through alcohol rehabilitation treatment as recently [as] 2009″ — a spokesman for the school district cited the following: “It is illegal under state and federal disability laws to deny employment solely on the basis of a history of treatment for alcohol or substance abuse.” There is no indication in the article that alcohol was a factor in the bus accident. [KDVR via Brian Martinez]

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Disabled-hiring “goals” for federal contractors
02.29.12 at 3:48 pm

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1 Melvin H. 02.26.12 at 9:36 pm

Sued if you do, sued if you don’t.

2 Anna 02.27.12 at 4:49 am

If I were making that decision, I would rather be sued by the alcoholic than the parents of dead or injured children.

3 Melvin H. 02.27.12 at 10:33 am

Anna: Until you are the one sued by, as you put it, “the parents of dead or injured children”. It will be curious if the parents of the three kids do sue–if they do, dollars to doughnuts it will be the school district, not the driver, who gets sued….for hiring the driver.
Another example of a situation where the ADA forces a darned if you do, darned if you don’t situation, with the taxpayers losing.

4 wfjag 02.27.12 at 12:17 pm

@Melvin: What about his DUI in 1992 has an relation to this accident? Other than the statement that the bus driver didn’t see the girls, there are no facts provided that bear on causation. People with clean driving records will sometimes be inattentive, and negligently cause an accident. Without some facts, all I see in this story is another example of why we teach kids to look both ways before crossing the street. Having the right of way is no protection against injury if you’re struck by a vehicle. Even the best drivers can be distracted or inattenative. Make sure that the driver you’re going to walk in front of you sees you — and does a hand waive or something that shows that s/he acknowledges your presence. If the driver is driving erratically, call 911, give details, including a description of the vehicle and as much of a tag number as you can get, and let the police investigate. In this case, as the bus driver was doing his job (although apparently negligently), the employer’s liability, if any, is under respondeat superior, rather than for negligent hiring.

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