A federal appeals court has rejected a bid by a transit agency to dismiss a lawsuit filed by an injured worker who claims he was injured after being forced to work a night shift, despite seeking accommodations for a sleep disorder.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled Wednesday that a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by Bilal Abdul Wadud Collins against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority can proceed.
Mr. Collins is suing his employer alleging the transit agency violated the Rehabilitation Act when it denied his request for accommodations because of his sleep disorder.
Mr. Collins claims he was forced to work a midnight shift and injured his back shortly thereafter.
The transit authority sought to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the exclusive remedy under Virginia workers̵7; compensation law requires injured workers to obtain relief through the state’s Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Mr. Collins has already received a comp award following his injury.
The appeals court denied the transit authority’s motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that the suit is not a tort action, which would have been precluded by exclusive remedy, but rather a federal anti-discrimination case.
The court said that a state law that makes rehabilitation under workers the exclusive remedy for work-related injuries cannot bar an employee from seeking employment discrimination relief under the Americans with Disabilities Act or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.