- A federal judge has approved a $75,000 settlement between UPS Freight and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that resolves the agency's claims that UPS demonstrated disparate treatment toward drivers with disabilities seeking temporary non-driving work.
- Thomas Diebold, a driver for UPS Freight, sought temporary non-driving work after he suffered a stroke. However, company policy allowed such reassignments only for drivers whose licenses were suspended for nonmedical reasons.
- As part of the lawsuit, EEOC also challenged a collective bargaining agreement between UPS Freight and the Teamsters "under which drivers with disabilities could be reassigned to non-driving work for medical reasons but were paid 10% less than drivers reassigned for non-medical reasons, such as DWI convictions."
"Employers need to know that disparate treatment of qualified, disabled workers — whether because of a company's policy or a collective bargaining agreement — is prohibited under the [Americans with Disabilities Act]," Andrea G. Baran, EEOC's regional attorney in St. Louis said in a statement announcing the settlement.
"Disparate treatment" refers to intentional acts of discrimination on the basis of a protected status such as race, national origin, religion or gender. It could even involve, for example, a failure to hire an individual who is a caregiver for an individual with a disability, the agency has said in guidance, as the ADA includes association protections.
EEOC recognizes "disparate impact" discrimination as well. Disparate impact discrimination occurs when seemingly neutral policies or practices create a disproportionate, adverse impact on a protected group and cannot be justified by business necessity. This can include, for example, a test that unnecessarily screens out individuals with disabilities, according to EEOC.