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. Ship's Captain, helicopter pilots, refinery unit operators,
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
Exxon's attempt to address the problem of alcoholic employees
(particularly drunken ship's 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?