Arned If You Do…Darned If You Dont Exxon v. EEOC
Only in the U.S. could such a problem occur. Following the Exxon Valdez disaster in Prince William sound caused by a Drunken Ship Captain that lead to $4.5 Billion in penalties and payments, Exxon initiated a company policy that required company employees with alcohol problems to step-forward and identify themselves. In return, Exxon provided rehabilitation and other assistance. However, they also put these people on a list prohibiting them from getting certain high-risk jobs, i.e. Ships Captain, helicopter pilots, refinery unit operators, etc.
60 such employees filed complaints with the EEOC, claiming discrimination against the disabled. Alcoholism is a recognized disability under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), so Exxons attempt to address the problem of alcoholic employees (particularly drunken ships captains), turned into another disaster: EXXON v. EEOC in federal court. (See Case 7.1 from the Week 1 reading.)
What other actions could Exxon have taken to deal with this corporate problem?
Is this an over-reach in enforcing the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act?
Were there other options available to the EEOC in trying to discipline Exxon, besides filing suit in federal court?