This post is no joke: not as a matter of law or of health.
Law360 has reported that after a jury verdict, a federal court has just ordered a Kansas city to pay almost $1 million to a former police officer who fell asleep on the job numerous times and was then diagnosed with severe sleep apnea, for which he was prescribed a medical device and medication. He was fired.
The city’s contention was that he was fired for legitimate business reasons, such as insubordination.
The Mayo Clinic’s web site defines sleep apnea as “a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. You may have sleep apnea if you snore loudly and you feel tired even after a full night’s sleep. There are two main types of sleep apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea, the more common form that occurs when throat muscles relax; and Central sleep apnea, which occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.”
Untreated, it can cause hypertension, stroke, or heart failure. One treatment is the use of a CPAP device, worn by the patient in the photo, above.
The takeaway here: sleep apnea has been found to be a disability under the ADA, and left untreated can be very dangerous.