UPS and Disability Discrimination

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UPS has agreed to pay $2 million dollars in monetary damages to drivers who accused the shipping behemoth of unfair work practices, and disability discrimination. The judgment, ordered in August of 2017, came after months of out-of-court settlement negotiations and mediation. The shipping conglomerate initially denied all claims in the lawsuit.

90 current and former employees accused the shipping conglomerate of failing to make reasonable accommodations for disabilities. According to the allegations, UPS failed to offer disabled workers tools and hardware that would allow them to complete their job. The complaint also accused UPS of failing to follow proper procedure when a disabled employee was on leave for more than 12 months. According to the complaint, UPS automatically fired employees if they were on leave for 12 months or greater. Under federal law, proper procedures must be followed in order to terminate an employee on medical leave. 

The company was ordered to pay $2 million in monetary compensation to the drivers and staff named in the lawsuit. UPS also agreed to revamp their policies and to provide accommodations moving forward for disabled workers. Additionally, UPS agreed to comply with an order to periodically report to the EEOC regarding disability accommodation requests for a period of three years.

UPS has been accused of discriminatory practices in the past, and the current $2 million settlement is not the first of its kind. In 1998 Linda Channon was awarded $80 million in punitive damages. The former UPS manager accused the company of fostering a hostile work environment and failing to take proper action against an employee who sexually harassed Channon. In the lawsuit, Channon accused UPS executives of rehiring an employee who sexually harassed Channon, and failing to properly follow-up on incidents of stalking and harassment.

A 2014 lawsuit filed against the company by eight former employees alleged racial discrimination. In that suit, the former employees noted racial tension in the Lexington, Kentucky UPS office. They also accused the company of retaliation after their complained of the racially hostile environment. They were awarded $5.3 million by a jury.

UPS employs 43,000 individuals and reported revenues of $64 billion in 2016. The large and dynamic company is a perfect example of how failure to accommodate needs, and adequately deal with hostility in the workplace can create unlawful work environments. Disability discrimination, gender discrimination, and racial discrimination remain hot-button issues that every business, both large and small should continue to actively fight against. EEOC compliance is imperative to avoid disability discrimination claims. 

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Cite this article: Lynch, N. (2017). UPS and Disability Discrimination. https://www.lynchlf.com/blog/ups-and-disability-discrimination/


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