UPS Freight’s Policy of Paying Disabled Drivers Less Violates Federal Law, Court Rules

Disability Rights Are Civil Rights

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a bulletin announcing that the court granted a judgment and injunction in favor of the EEOC in the Americans with Disability Act.

A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for District of Kansas ruled on July 27, 2018, that UPS violated federal law by having a policy, contained in its current union contract with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, to pay disabled drivers only 90% of what nondisabled drivers earn when they temporarily move to non-driving jobs.

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EEOC vs. UPS Ground Freight

In August 2017, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against UPS Ground Freight in order to provide retribution to Mr. Thomas Diebold. Mr. Diebold was employed by UPS from 2006 to 2015 as a driver at a Service Center in Kansas City, Kan. In 2013, he suffered a minor stroke. Consequently, he sought a non-driving position, as allowed by the company when drivers are temporarily unable to drive, whether for medical or nonmedical reasons, such as convictions for driving while intoxicated.

UPS Policy

Under UPS’ policy, as agreed upon in a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between UPS Freight and the union, drivers with disabilities like that of Mr. Diebold, who was reassigned to a non-driving position for medical reasons would be paid 10% less than drivers who were reassigned for non-medical reasons.

Chief Judge Julie A. Robinson agreed with EEOC and ruled that the policy violates  Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because it “(1) limit[s], segregat[es], or classif[ies] drivers because of disability adversely affecting the opportunities or status of disabled drivers and (2) us[es] standards, criteria, or methods of administration that have the effect of discrimination on the basis of disability.”

Unlawful Contractural Relationship with a Union

It was also ruled that UPS violated the law by entering into a contractual relationship with a union that “expressly discriminates against medically disabled UPS Freight drivers.”  The court issued an injunction to permanently prevent UPS from discriminating on the basis of disability in violation of the ADA. Additionally, the injunction is designed to force UPS and the union from negotiating and ratifying terms of the next collective bargaining agreement which would discriminate on the basis of disability in violation of the ADA.

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USEEOC/bulletins/20267dd

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