EEOC Sues UPS Freight for Violating the Americans With Disabilities Act
Company Treats Disabled Drivers Worse Than Drivers With DWIs, Suit Charges
UPS Freight violated federal law by treating a truck driver who was unable to drive because of a minor stroke worse than it treated drivers unable to drive because they were convicted of driving while intoxicated, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a recently filed lawsuit. The suit also challenges UPS Freight's current union contract with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which requires discrimination in compensation for truckers with disabilities, according to the agency.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Thomas Diebold began working for UPS Freight in 2006 at its Service Center in Kansas City, Kan. After suffering a minor stroke in 2013 and disclosing it during this annual driver physical examination, Diebold was unable to renew his required Department of Transportation (DOT) medical examiner's certificate. During the almost nine months from the date he stopped working as a road driver until his DOT certificate was renewed in December 2014, Diebold sought unsuccessfully to be treated the same as those who could not drive because of convictions for driving while intoxicated. Subsequently, a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between UPS Freight the International Brotherhood of Teamsters formalized the policy of paying drivers who are reassigned to non-driving work due to disability 10% less than drivers who are reassigned for non-medical reasons.
The EEOC filed its lawsuit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. UPS Ground Freight, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:17-cv-02453), in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks monetary relief for Diebold, as well as a judgment and order requiring the company to implement policies and practices to prevent future discrimination, including modifying the current CBA with the Teamsters.
"Employers must treat employees with disabilities the same as those without disabilities when issuing workplace benefits," said EEOC St. Louis District Director James R. Neely, Jr.
Andrea G. Baran, the EEOC's regional attorney in St. Louis, added, "Employers cannot seek refuge from the reach of the ADA by relying on a union agreement when the agreement itself requires discrimination based on disability."
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. The St. Louis District Office oversees Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and a portion of southern Illinois.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.