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Press Release 09-01-2023

Jury Awards Over $36 Million in EEOC Disability Discrimination Case Against Werner Trucking

Nebraska Trucking Companies Refused to Hire or Reasonably Accommodate Qualified Deaf Driver

ST. LOUIS – An eight-person jury in Omaha, Nebraska returned a verdict of $36,075,000 in favor of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on disability discrimination claims against Drivers Management, LLC and Werner Enterprises, Inc., the federal agency announced today. The jury awarded Robinson $75,000 in compensatory damages and $36,000,000 in punitive damages after deliberating for less than two hours following a four-day trial, finding that Drivers Management and Werner’s conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

“Victor Robinson had the courage to step forward and say what happened to him was wrong,” said EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows. “The jury agreed, and their substantial verdict sends a clear message to employers everywhere that our nation will not tolerate disability discrimination,”

The jury found that the truckload carriers failed to hire and failed to accommodate Victor Robinson, who is deaf, for a truck driving job in 2016. The EEOC presented evidence that Robinson applied to work at Werner after completing training at Roadmaster, a Werner-owned truck driving school, and obtaining his commercial driver’s license (CDL). Robinson also 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. After he applied, Werner’s Vice President of Safety told Robinson that the company would not hire him because he could not hear. The Vice President of Safety testified at trial that Werner continues to deny employment opportunities to new Deaf drivers.

“The jury heard the evidence and called Werner’s conduct what it was – unacceptable,” said Andrea G. Baran, regional attorney for EEOC’s St. Louis District.  “Like everyone else, Deaf people deserve a fair chance to make a living and to support themselves and their families,” added St. Louis District Director David Davis.       

“Werner’s refusal to acknowledge Mr. Robinson’s abilities hurt not only him, but the entire Deaf community,” said EEOC’s trial team, Supervisory Trial Attorney Joshua M. Pierson and Trial Attorneys Meredith S. Berwick and Lauren Wilson. “As this verdict demonstrates, companies like Werner that deny reasonable accommodations to drivers with disabilities do so at their peril.”

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 EEOC filed its lawsuit 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) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC’s 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 about disability discrimination is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.