ADA claim brought by would-be school bus driver is reinstated by the Sixth Circuit
Tammy Rosebrough was born without a left hand. She applied with Buckeye Valley High School for a cook's position and was told that the school desperately needed school bus drivers. When she applied for that position, she was told that the school would need to check with State authorities about her eligibility to drive a school bus. She was later informed that she would need a waiver from the Ohio Department of Education and she provided the school with one several weeks later. Meanwhile the school was advertising for drivers.
Rosebrough was scheduled for training but soon reported to Human Resources that her trainer was making disparaging comments about her ability to operate a bus with her missing hand. Ultimately, she was called to meet with school management where she was informed that she was "high maintenance," and that parents would not be happy with her driving a bus. She met with the School Superintendent who resinstated her in training. When she scheduled a training run with a school bus to obtain her CDL, however, the school informed her at the last moment that no bus would be available. Discouraged, she attempted to finish training with other schools only to learn that she could only complete her training with the school who was hiring her as a driver. She then filed an ADA claim against Huron Valley.
The District Court dismissed her claim, holding that since she never finished her CDL training, she was not "eligible" for the position which she was allegedly denied on the basis of her missing hand. The Sixth Circuit pointed out that the District Court missed the point with regard to Rosebrough's allegations and that she had provided sufficient evidence to raise a claim of discrimination. Since the lower court had never considered all of the elements of a discrimination claim, the case was returned to the lower court for further evaluation.