Premier Law Group represented nine men who worked in various positions with General Dynamics Land Systems, a defense contractor for the federal government in its Stryker program.
The IAV Stryker is a family of eight-wheeled, 4+4-wheel-drive, armored fighting vehicles derived from the Canadian LAV III and produced by General Dynamics Land Systems, in use by the U.S. Army. In February 2002, the Army named its new interim armored vehicle after two soldiers who received the Medal of Honor. The American servicemen who posthumously received the Medal of Honor were PFC Stuart S. Stryker, who died in World War II, and Spc4 Robert F. Stryker, who died in the Vietnam War.
At the height of the conflict in the middle east, the U.S. Army had seven Stryker Brigade Combat Teams, three of which were deployed in combat zones: two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. GDLS employed approximately one thousand people and had about one-third of them deployed outside of the country.
Each man served in the United States Army for several years before joining General Dynamics Land Systems. Each had a medical condition that affected a major system in their bodies and was thus covered by the ADAAA as a disability. In some cases, the disabling medical condition, which made them vulnerable to termination, was incurred while they were in the service.
In 2009, GDLS instituted a policy of discharging any employee who could not pass a pre-deployment physical (including a dental exam) and/or the CONUS Replacement Center (CRC) or the Soldier Readiness Program (SRP) as such failure prevented employees from being deployed to a combat zone.
Ultimately, GDLS terminated all of these men for being deemed “Not Physically Qualified” during pre-deployment screenings. None of the men were offered other positions in the company after being informed that they did not meet pre-deployment requirements. And none of the men were allowed to remedy their pre-deployment deficiencies or given waivers.
The men filed suit in federal court alleging violations of the recently amended American With Disabilities Act, but were forced to arbitrate the dispute. As a result of pre-employment agreements, all employees must sign agreeing to resolve any dispute through a process that ends with final and binding arbitration.
Some of the claims were resolved before the arbitration, but the majority were decided by the arbitrator. The total verdict in favor of four of the men was over $450,000 plus costs and attorney fees.