Trucking Company Subjected a Class of Drivers to Unlawful Medical Inquiries, Federal Agency Charged
DETROIT - PAM Transport, Inc. has been ordered to pay 12 of its former truck drivers a total of $477,399 in a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency announced.
In its lawsuit, the EEOC alleged that PAM violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by subjecting its entire workforce of truck drivers to overly broad medical inquiries. The lawsuit arose from PAM's medical clearance policy, which required all drivers to notify the company whenever the driver had any contact with a medical professional, including a routine physical.
Such alleged conduct violates the ADA which prohibits employers from making medical inquiries of employees unless the inquiries are job-related and consistent with business necessity. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (Civil Action No. 4:09-13851) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In April 2012, the court issued an order mandating the company to change its medical clearance policy to make medical inquiries of drivers only when they are job-related and consistent with business necessity. To help resolve remaining issues, the court appointed a retired judge as third-party decision maker.
On Feb. 26, the court entered an order which requires PAM to $225,998 in back pay and interest, $49,114 in compensatory damages, and $202,287 in punitive damages to 12 of its former truck drivers.
"A punitive damages award almost equal to the other awarded damages reinforces the ADA's prohibition against impermissible medical inquiries," said Laurie Young, regional attorney for the EEOC's Indianapolis District.
EEOC Trial Attorney Nedra Campbell said, "This order should encourage companies to think twice about subjecting its workforce to overly broad medical inquiries. Companies must ensure that their medical inquiry policies are job-related and consistent with business necessity, as required by federal law."
PAM is an international over-the-road trucking company which delivers goods to companies throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada (www.pamtransport.com). PAM is a wholly owned subsidiary of a holding company, P.A.M. Transportation Services, Inc. (PTSI). Both are headquartered in Tontitown, Ark.
The EEOC enforces the nation's laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.