Federal Agency Steers Hiring Case of Driver With Amputation to Early Resolution
AMARILLO, Texas - An Amarillo, Texas-based fuel transport company has agreed to pay $65,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Flying Star Transport violated federal law by denying hire to truck driver Robert Kallgren because he had had his arm amputated during his teenage years. Kallgren had more than 20 years of experience driving trucks when he applied to work for Flying Star. The company made an assessment, without evidence or proof, that there was no accommodation that would allow Kallgren to do the job safely, and failed to engage in an interactive process of exploring that with him.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Flying Star has denied the allegations in the EEOC's suit. By agreement between the parties to resolve the matter without resort to lengthy litigation, the EEOC filed its lawsuit on April 24, 2017 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Amarillo (Civil Action No.2:17-cv-00070-J). Concurrent with that filing, the parties also jointly filed a settlement by consent decree with the court.
EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Joel Clark noted that the settlement was negotiated before the parties engaged in extended litigation or pretrial discovery.
"We greatly appreciate Flying Star's determination to work with the EEOC to quickly resolve the case by providing compensation to Mr. Kallgren and undertaking measures to assure future compliance with the ADA," Clark said.
Robert A. Canino, regional attorney for the EEOC's Dallas District Office, said, "We have been impressed with Mr. Kallgren's determination and success in pursuing active employment, and successfully performing whatever duties have been asked of him. Even today he is employed as an over-the-road truck driver, which I think speaks to his abilities in such a position. Flying Star is taking the high road with a commitment to providing opportunities to applicants and employees who may require accommodation."
Under the consent decree settling the suit, Flying Star will pay Kallgren $65,000. In addition, the decree enjoins Flying Star Transport from engaging in disability discrimination in the future. Further, the decree requires the company to train its managers with respect to the ADA's requirements and to report complaints of disability discrimination to the EEOC.
According to company information, Flying Star Transport has terminals in Texas and New Mexico. The company drivers transport gasoline, diesel, propane, butane and other fuels.
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.