Woman fired over service dog, fights trucking company
Lucinda Brummitt moved to Manitoba for love, but says a battle with her former employer has made the last year in the province miserable.
Brummitt was hired as a truck driver by Jade Transport in 2015, but just a few months later was fired.
The company wouldn't allow her to drive with her service dog Big. The chocolate-lab mix helps Brummitt with her post traumatic stress disorder.
The 52-year-old is a United States army veteran and survivor of military sexual trauma.
"At night he sleeps with me so that when I have night terrors with me he wake me up, and it's been really great because of course he can see and hear things before I would," Brummitt said.
Brummitt, who now lives in Inwood, and Big's journey north to Manitoba from Texas started on the side of the road.
In March 2014, she was driving her truck when it broke down in North Dakota.
A man from Manitoba stopped to help.
Brummitt married that man, also a truck driver. She moved to Manitoba, and in September 2015 landed a job with Jade Transport.
However, she was let go just a few months later before Christmas.
"I was trying so hard not to cry, you know I didn't want to cry in front of them, but it was so hard. It was like my whole life had been ripped out from underneath me," she added.
Jade Transport told CTV News the company is unable to comment at this time.
In Brummit's termination letter, Jade Transport claimed she failed to inform the company about her desire to have a service dog in the truck.
The company stated it has always had a no animals policy in the trucks, and that the dog is a safety and sanitary issue, and a concern at many North American chemical plants.
The Manitoba Trucking Association said it’s unaware of Brummitt’s dispute with Jade Transport, but said companies in the industry are routinely caught between conflicting regulations.
The Association said often trucking companies want to comply with the human rights code and accommodate a request like a service dog, but must also meet the rules of shippers and receivers.
“So when we find ourselves in those situations, again, we have to defer to the safety end of things, whether we like to or not," said Terry Shaw, executive director with the Manitoba Trucking Association.
Brummitt took her complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission in January 2016.
After she lost her job, she said she lost her Canadian work permit and has struggled financially.
Brummitt said her case is still before the commission, but she won't give up until she gets a fair settlement.
"I have been pushed to my limit. I have been very patient and my husband has as well. Trying to get this settled with Jade and get on with our lives … that is not happening," Brummitt said.
The Canadian Human Rights Commission said there's been a handful of cases involving service dogs since 2011. Due to privacy it doesn't comment on cases.
It said if a dispute is not resolved through mediation, a case could go to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal for a decision.
The Manitoba trucking association said many jobs involve transporting chemicals and industrial goods.
It said service animals can't wear protective equipment, respirators and can't be trained on emergency response protocols.