UPS to Pay $95K in EEOC Disability Discrimination Lawsuit Settlement
January 6, 2012
In a recent California disability discrimination lawsuit settlement that Howard Law's managing attorney Vincent Howard has been following, UPS Supply Chain Solutions has recently agreed to pay $95,000 after the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found the world's biggest package delivery company responsible for illegally denying a deaf employee with reasonable accommodation in the workplace.
According to the EEOC lawsuit, deaf employee Mauricio Centeno worked at the UPS facility from 2001 until 2009 as a junior clerk in the accounting department. Centeno has reportedly been deaf since birth, and his primary language is American Sign Language (ASL). The EEOC investigation uncovered that during his employment with the company, Centeno struggled to understand written English language in the workplace, and continually asked for reasonable accommodation--in order to receive help from an interpreter for departmental staff meetings, training, and other work-related sessions.
Although aware of his hearing impairment, UPS supervisors continually denied Centeno's requests for reasonable accommodation in the workplace, and instead required that he attend the meetings, where he was reportedly counseled about his job performance without the aid of an interpreter. The EEOC found that although at times the company would provide Centeno with written notes and summaries, this did not adequately accommodate his disability--due to his lack of written English language proficiency.
The EEOC reportedly filed the disability discrimination lawsuit in 2006, claiming that UPS violated the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) by failing to reasonably accommodate Centeno.
As Vincent Howard of Howard Law has discussed in a previous Santa Ana labor and employment attorney blog, under the ADA, it is against the law to discriminate against workers who suffer from disabilities, and all employers are required by federal law to reasonably accommodate disabled job applicants and employees, unless doing so would cause a significant expense or difficulty for the employer.
Along with the $95,000 in monetary relief, the UPS facility agreed to a three year consent decree that requires that UPS Supply Chain Solutions ensure that all employees who are deaf or who have hearing impairments understand their employee rights in regard to receiving reasonable accommodations and also receive them. UPS is also responsible for designating an ADA Coordinator to review and also revise all reasonable accommodation policies, engaging in the reasonable accommodation request process with all employees, which includes in-person meetings in an interactive process, providing immediate and thorough investigations into disability discrimination and retaliation complaints, and conducting supervisor and management sensitivity training on how to accommodate individuals with hearing impairments, with advanced training for the occupational health and human resources departments.
According to the EEOC, this disability discrimination lawsuit settlement emphasizes the fact that workers with disabilities have the right to the same employment benefits and privileges enjoyed by workers without disabilities. Under the ADA, it is imperative that employers work to provide effective accommodations for all employees.
At Howard Law, PC our employment and labor attorney Vincent Howard fights for your right to a workplace free from disability discrimination and violations of the ADA. Contact us today, in Orange County and throughout Southern California, for a free consultation about your disability and employment rights.
UPS Unit to Pay $95,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, December 14, 2011
UPS Settles Discrimination Claim, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December 16, 2011
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EEOC Disability Discrimination Protection under the ADA, California Employment Lawyers Blog, November 10, 2011
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