FORT MYERS – A Lee County man is suing the City of Naples for allegedly violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Florida Civil Rights Act. 

In a lawsuit filed on April 23, Richard Samson accuses the city of withdrawing an offer to hire him as a mechanic because he has Type 1 diabetes and is treated with insulin. According to the lawsuit, Samson applied to be a mechanic in the equipment services division of the city’s utilities department. He was subsequently interviewed and hired for the position in January 2017. 

As part of the onboarding process, Samson was required to complete a Florida Department of Transportation physical. He informed the medical provider conducting the physical that he wouldn’t pass because he had diabetes and was insulin dependent. He then contacted city employee Denise Matson, who allegedly told him to continue with the physical. A week later, he reportedly received a letter rescinding the employment offer.

According to the lawsuit Samson was advised, “Advanced Medical Center was not able to clear you for this position.” The lawsuit noted the job requirements didn’t indicate any requirements that a DOT physical was necessary for the position. It also argued that a DOT physical wasn’t necessary because none of the trucks Samson would be required to work on are used for interstate travel.

“By requiring that Samson obtain a passing DOT physical exam even though he would be working as a mechanic and not a commercial driver, Naples violated the Florida Civil Rights Act, which prohibits an employer from using qualification standards that screen out people with disabilities,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit mentioned an exemption to the physical that may have been available, but was not offered. Samson is asking the court to award him back pay in the form of lost wages and fringe benefits. He is also asking for punitive and compensatory damages for “mental anguish, loss of dignity, and any other intangible injuries.” 

Samson also wants his job back.

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