U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Federal Judge Finds Company's Arguments for Lifting Injunction Unavailing
ST. LOUIS - A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas ruled on November 1, 2018, that UPS Freight's attempt to vacate its July 2018 order that prohibited it from violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was not appropriate and that its arguments were "not likely to succeed on appeal."
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit in August 2017 (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. UPS Ground Freight, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:17-cv- 02453) to obtain relief for Mr. Thomas Diebold. Mr. Diebold worked for UPS Freight from 2006 to 2015 as a driver at its Service Center in Kansas City, Kan. After suffering a minor stroke in 2013, Diebold sought non-driving work, 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. But under UPS policy, later formalized in a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between UPS Freight and the union, drivers with disabilities like Mr. Diebold who were reassigned to non-driving work for medical reasons were paid 10% less than drivers who were reassigned for non-medical reasons.
In July 2018, considering the issue of UPS Freight's policy, Chief Judge Julie A. Robinson ruled that it violated the ADA and issued an injunction "permanently [preventing UPS Freight] from discriminating on the basis of disability in violation of [the ADA and preventing] UPS Freight 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]."
Despite UPS Freight's argument that the injunction be lifted because of "changed circumstances," in the few short months since the Court's July order, including a newly negotiated, but not yet ratified, CBA, Judge Robinson "decline[d] to vacate the injunction under these tentative circumstances and prior to ratification of the new CBA." Finally, noting the EEOC's likelihood of success on appeal and citing to the public interest, the Court refused UPS Freight's request to stay the injunction.
Andrea G. Baran, EEOC's regional attorney in St. Louis, said, "The Court's July judgment was well reasoned and its injunction both appropriate and justified under the law. We are very pleased the Court sided again with the Commission and denied UPS Freight's ill-advised attempt to skirt its responsibilities under the ADA."
Grant Doty, Senior Trial Attorney assigned to this case, said, "This new order reinforces the importance of employers complying with the ADA and the fact that doing so is not onerous. We are very pleased by this ruling."
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. The St. Louis District Office oversees Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and a portion of southern Illinois.
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