Yauncey Long is a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan as a counterintelligence officer. Long came home after being wounded in war and winning a Purple Heart, proud of his service yet suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Fortunately, Long discovered the ideal remedy for his PTSD. He realised that the aid of a service dog, whom he called “C4”, was the most helpful in coping with his illness after attempting drugs to control his symptoms. Sadly, after receiving the dog from an organisation that assists wounded warriors in obtaining necessary service dogs, his employer refused to allow him to bring the canine to work with him.
Although Long has become less reliant on medication for his PTSD and has been able to do things he was unable to do for a long time prior to receiving C4, Cincinnati Bell, the Midwest telecom company where Long worked, told him to go home when he arrived for work with his service canine, refusing to allow the dog on the jobsite. Long states that even after requesting reasonable adjustments, he received resistance from the corporation, involving “unsatisfactory” comments from management.
Long stated to his employer that the service dog helps him function regularly, however the veteran was warned he would be fired if he continued to bring the dog to work. Long continued to show up for his regular shifts with C4 despite his belief that their behaviours were improper and discriminatory. He was sent home without pay each time. Undaunted, he continued to come up every day, but he got the same answer from his employer each time.
The firm treats C4 as if the dog is a “option” instead of a must for addressing his illness. The dog truly assists with his symptoms, Long told, adding that C4 enabled him to go grocery shopping on his own for the first time since his deployment.
When contacted Cincinnati Bell for a response, the corporation claimed that it had not received any information concerning Long’s illness or its the impact on his ability to perform his job. However, the veteran claims that is simply not the case.
“It’s just a stonewall, Long said, adding that he has filed all of the required proof to prove his PTSD and need for C4 to accompany him to work, and he has even provided the copies of letters sent to him by the company stating that they had received his paperwork and would start processing it. Long also said that he has not had any requests for further paperwork, which he would gladly supply if someone could only tell him what, if anything, he is lacking.
Long believes that his paperwork was disregarded since the corporation did not know how to handle it since it was the only request of its sort they had received. He argues that rather than dealing with the issue of policy, they are ignoring it. With this in mind, Long wrote to Cincinnati Bell CEO Leigh Fox to describe the situation in the hopes of receiving assistance. Rather, he was merely directed to contact human resources, which he had previously done several times to no effect.
Veterans have a difficult time returning to normal life after a deployment, particularly if they were injured in war. Yauncey Long seems to be merely trying to live an honest life after seeing things most of us can’t even comprehend while serving his nation and safeguarding our liberties.
It’s unfortunate that he isn’t getting the respect and accommodations he needs from his employer in order to be a productive member of society after being injured while serving. So it’s no surprise that many readers were agitated and demanded a boycott of the company.
Those who disagreed with the Purple Heart recipient, nevertheless, were surprisingly vocal. They said that they believed a firm should be entitled to make its own regulations for operating their business, even when it comes to service dogs, and that his employer should not be obliged to allow the dog to accompany him to work.
Unfortunately, that line of thinking could easily leave people like Yauncey Long unemployed indefinitely, reliant on taxpayers to support him, which doesn’t sound like a very viable solution either. There has to be some middle ground somewhere. Is enabling a wounded soldier to keep his service animal companionship really that terrible for business? You make the decision and tell us what you think.