The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled the City of Ames was justified in firing a public works employee who lost his driver’s license after a drunk driving arrest. Steven Lewis had worked 18-years for the city before his arrest for O-W-I in June of 2006. His license was suspended for six months.
City officials discussed his situation, then fired him — citing the job requirement that he have a license. They say his job as a maintenance worker required him to drive a variety of vehicles from pick-ups to dump trucks. City officials among other things said the suspension of Lewis’ license came during the winter when he was particularly needed to help with snow removal.
Lewis appealed the firing, saying it was arbitrary as the city could have given him other duties during the six months when he did not have his license. The district court and appeals court agreed with Lewis. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled that Lewis’s failure to maintain his driver’s license fell within “neglect of duty, disobedience, misconduct, or failure to properly perform the person’s duties” requirement for firing under the Iowa Code.
See the full ruling here: Ames worker Supreme Court ruling PDF