Service v. Union Pacific Railroad Company

A train engineer sued his employer for failing to accommodate his asthma by providing a smoke-free work environment. The court found that the employee’s claims that he was discriminated against in violation of state and federal law could proceed. The court ruled that the employee had demonstrated enough evidence to move forward with his claim that his asthma substantially limited his major life activity of breathing. According to the court, the employee’s asthma was severe, potentially life-threatening, and could not be completely controlled with mitigating measures such as an inhaler.  The court also found that the employee had provided enough evidence to question whether the employer had reasonably accommodated his asthma. The court noted that the only accommodation offered by the company was an air freshener and the fact that the company had recently implemented a no-smoking policy indicated that such a measure would not impose an undue hardship on the company.


Service v. Union Pacific R.R. Co., 153 F.Supp.2d 1187 (E.D. Cal. 2001).

  • United States
  • Jul 30, 2001
  • U.S. District Court, E.D. California


Plaintiff Dennis Service


  • Renzenberger, Inc.
  • Union Pacific Railroad Company

Legislation Cited

Americans with Disabilities Act

California Fair Employment and Housing Act

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