John McDuffy v Interstate Distributor Co (2005) H&FLR 2015-6
Multnomah County Circuit Court (Oregon)
5 October 2005
Coram: Not known
Appearing for the Plaintiff: Michael Ross (of Slater Ross)
Appearing for the Defendant: Alan Lee (of Bullard Law)
Catchwords: Oregon – truck driver – obesity – discrimination – compensation – quantum.
Facts: The plaintiff had worked as a commercial driver since 1987 and had been employed by the defendant since April 2003. He was classed as morbidly obese, being 6 feet tall and weighing 550 pounds (250 kilograms).
In May 2004 he was assigned to a truck which was smaller than usual and in which the steering mechanism could not be adjusted. He was unable to fit in the cab and reported the problem, after which he was suspended from duty without pay. In late May he was assigned a larger truck, but then again suspended pending medical clearance for work. On examination by a doctor it was found that he was able to drive a truck and had only minor other limitations on his capacity to work. Despite this his suspension was not lifted.
The plaintiff brought proceedings against his employer for discrimination. He tendered in evidence video footage of him performing his work duties.
Held: The jury upheld the plaintiff’s claim and awarded damages of $109,000.00.
The outcome was a jury finding and no written reasons are available. The report prepared based on an account in the Seattle Times of 7 November 2005 and the Oregonian of 6 November 2005.