Local News

Judge backs DOT firing of sleepy worker

Posted April 7, 2010 11:31 a.m. EDT

— 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.