Nebraska Trucking Companies Also Refused to Reasonably Accommodate Qualified Deaf Driver, Federal Agency Charges
ST. LOUIS - Drivers Management, LLC and Werner Enterprises, Inc., truckload carriers headquartered in Omaha, Neb., violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when they refused to hire an applicant as a truck driver because he is deaf, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.
According to the EEOC's suit, Drivers Management and Werner told Victor Robinson that because he was deaf, they could not hire him as a truck driver, even though he had graduated from truck driving school, received his commercial driver license, and obtained from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) an exemption from the hearing regulation for the operation of a commercial motor vehicle.
In addition to these claims, the EEOC asserts that Drivers Management and Werner refused to hire Robinson because he needed a reasonable accommodation.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska (EEOC v. Drivers Management, LLC and Werner Enterprises, Inc., Case No. 8:18-cv-00462-JMG-SMB, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks back pay as well as compensatory and punitive damages for Robinson in addition to injunctive relief designed to prevent and address future discrimination based on disability and to otherwise bring the company into compliance with federal law.
"This is the second lawsuit we've filed this year against Werner to seek relief for a qualified deaf applicant who the company refused to hire simply because he was deaf," said Andrea G. Baran, regional attorney for the EEOC's St. Louis District. "Employers must realize they cannot deny employment to qualified applicants based on unfounded, negative stereotypes about deaf workers."
James R. Neely, Jr., director of the EEOC's St. Louis District Office, added, "It is unlawful to refuse to hire deaf applicants because they are deaf and to ignore their need for effective reasonable accommodations. As we've said before, just because someone is deaf doesn't mean he or she cannot safely drive a truck."
According to its website, Werner maintains offices in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China and Australia and is among the five largest truckload carriers in the United States. Its wholly owned subsidiary company, Drivers Management, employs, trains, and manages drivers.
The St. Louis District Office oversees Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and a portion of southern Illinois.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.