Can An Employer Be Charged Under ADA With the Duty of Providing Transportation to An Employee With Vision Problems ?

In Bull v. Coyner, 2000 U.S. Dist (February 23, 2000), another ADA case, the plaintiff was employed as a part-time cable intern for a public cable access television station. He suffered from retinitis pigmentosa, which is a degenerative eye disease that rendered him legally blind and, consequently, unable to drive. Therefore, station employees, while on company time, often drove him to and from work. When the defendant-employer learned that its employees were driving plaintiff to and from work on company time, the practice was prohibited. Defendant also changed plaintiff's schedule so that he had to work nights, even though it was a hardship because of his vision problems. In upholding summary judgment in favor of the defendant, the court held: "Accommodations are directed at enabling an employee to perform the essential functions of a job. Activities that fall outside the scope of the job, like commuting to and from the workplace, are not within the province of an employer's obligations under the ADA. After all, the ADA addresses discrimination with respect to any terms, condition or privilege of employment.' Defendant, with full knowledge of Bull's vision problems, may have been insensitive or even malicious in requiring him to work at night. But it had no legally-imposed obligation to be thoughtful and certainly no duty to require its employees to drive Bull on company time. Therefore, Defendants cannot be charged under the ADA with the duty of providing for Bull's transportation." Bull, 2000 U.S. Dist.