Man Claims ADA Violation For 'Bladder Shyness'

May 20, 2004 ( - A man with a shy bladder claims Caterpillar Inc. violated the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) when he was fired for failing to urinate in a cup.

Tom Smith alleges his paruresis condition – commonly refereed to as “shy bladder syndrome” – prevented him from urinating for a required drug test. When Smith was unable to provide the necessary urine sample in the allotted three hour time period, he says Caterpillar terminated him, the Associated Press is reporting.

After failing to provide his urine sample in November, despite the fact Smith drank 40 ounces of water, Caterpillar suspended the 55-year-old assembly line worker. Smith was then terminated December 5. Prior to being fired, Smith says he provided the company with a urine sample during an exam by a doctor appointed by Caterpillar and also passed an independent hair drug test he paid for himself. However, the suit claims, Caterpillar refused to accept both test results because they were not provided by Smith in the original three-hour allotted period.

The failure by the Peoria, Illinois-based Caterpillar to provider alternate drug testing methods for people with a shy bladder condition, violates the ADA, Smith contends. In his suit, Smith is demanding his job back and unspecified monetary damages.

In it defense, a Caterpillar spokesperson told the Associated Press the company’s drug tests are in place to protect employees’ safety and do not violate the ADA.