PLACED EMPLOYEES ON INDEFINITE LEAVE IF THEY FAILED A COMPANY CREATED TEST
Union Pacific Railroad – which operates rail lines in 23 states – not only required its employees (conductors and locomotive engineers) to take vision tests, as required by the Federal Railroad Administration, but also administered a company-created “light cannon test,” which supposedly did “not replicate real world conditions or accurately assess whether someone can identify the color of railway signals.”
Notwithstanding their passing the federal test, or their years of performance, if employees failed to pass the “light canon test,” they were placed on indefinite leave and “effectively fired,” because of a “perceived disability.”
Believing that such conduct violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Union Pacific Railroad, Civil Action No. 23-cv-03030), seeking monetary damages and injunctive relief.
In a written statement, Diane Smason, acting district director of the EEOC’s Chicago District noted that “It is illegal under the ADA to terminate an employee on the basis of a perceived disability …. Discrimination against disabled workers is a problem the EEOC will continue to vigorously address.”
Was Union Pacific blind to the law here?
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