Local News

Judge backs DOT firing of sleepy worker

Posted April 7, 2010

— The North Carolina Department of Transportation was justified in firing an employee who repeatedly fell asleep on the job, a state judge ruled Wednesday.

The DOT fired graphic artist Elsie Hinton in August 2008, saying she had been repeatedly warned about sleeping at work over several years. Hinton appealed the move, saying she suffers from sleep apnea and that her firing violated her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Administrative Law Judge Melissa Owens Lassiter ruled that the DOT proved that managers fired Hinton for cause and that Hinton didn't prove that she qualified as being handicapped under the ADA or that she requested that her managers provide reasonable accommodation of her condition.

Hinton can appeal the ruling to the State Personnel Commission.


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  • jcd241959 Apr 8, 2010

    At least she knew what she was doing, it's the state employees that are awake that worry me!

  • artist Apr 8, 2010

    "Maybe instead of sleeping, she should have been having sex.

    Please stay on the subject at hand and not in the gutter. We all here would appreciate that. Thanks." wildcat

    Speak for yourself. I would rather hear about the sex.


  • Tolip Apr 8, 2010

    A judge has to agree? OMG! If I were sleeping on the job, I would be gone, period, end of discussion! Why does it take a Judge? Is this not a right to work state? Can you not be fired for cause? Is sleeping on the job not cause? Had she not been warned? OMG! *total disbelief*

  • 3dognight Apr 8, 2010

    Because the employer had documented previous reprimands, I agree with the judge. Don't worry about this woman - she'll get her doctor to write a report, take it to Social Security and will be drawing a disability check for the rest of her life.
    - laursadad

    oh my do you speak the truth...I've never known so many "able bodied" people who are on disability these days. Is there college course I missed??

    As for this employee, my goodness -- I've worked for the state and unless she was snoring the loudest, I don't see the difference between her and the rest of her "peers" that are still employed there.

  • G-man Apr 8, 2010

    Not that I have a problem in firing her but it's funny when some great ball players break the law and some judge won't let them fire them because it would take away their ability to earn a living.

  • dplowman Apr 8, 2010

    What about the 300,000 left that sleep on the job?

  • wildcat Apr 8, 2010

    Maybe instead of sleeping, she should have been having sex.

    Please stay on the subject at hand and not in the gutter. We all here would appreciate that. Thanks.

  • wildcat Apr 8, 2010


  • wildcat Apr 8, 2010

    Maybe this will teach anyone that has a job to work and not to be asleep. It will not pay to do so. There are many out of work because of lay-offs, we would love to have your job. So go to sleep - you never know who will see you.

  • wildcat Apr 8, 2010

    Thanks for allowing my comments.