A police dispatcher in the Chicago area told her supervisor that she had narcolepsy which causes people to fall asleep unexpectedly. However, medication was keeping the condition under control.
Kenya Madden was hired as a police dispatcher for Hillsboro, IL. During her training period, she told her supervisor she had narcolepsy.
Among the follow-up questions the supervisor didn’t ask Madden:
- What has your experience been with the condition?
- When was the last time you had an episode?
- Does medication control the condition for you?
Madden was fired. She filed a lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), alleging discrimination based upon the perception of a disability.
Hillsboro settled the lawsuit out of court, agreeing to pay Madden $10,001. The municipality admits no fault.
Before the settlement, the town’s police chief told the Chicago Tribune that this was a clear public safety issue, and he was unwilling to risk Madden falling asleep during an emergency call. She would have been alone at many times.
Is this a clear-cut case because of the potential risks? Or are there gray areas because Madden’s condition was under control with medication? Let us know what you think in the Comments Box below.
Cite: Madden v. Village of Hillside, (PDF).