EEOC sues UPS for refusing to accommodate, then firing, an worker with brittle diabetes

Diving letter:

  • United Parcel Service, Inc., commonly known as UPS, violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by firing a diabetic worker who requested occasional short breaks, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged June 30th charged.
  • The former employee, a preloader in a UPS warehouse in Jacksonville, Florida, suffered from fragile diabetes and carried an insulin pump with a continuous glucose monitor. To get his diabetes under control, he asked for breaks of less than five minutes to “check his blood sugar and get something to eat or drink if necessary,” EEOC said. Although the employee was able to perform the essential job functions, the personnel manager in the camp called him a “liability” and, according to the EEOC, fired him.
  • “Over 34 million people in the United States have diabetes,” said Robert Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC Miami District Office, in a press release. “It is imperative that employers take reasonable precautions, especially if the precautions do not generate costs and disrupt the workplace little, if at all.”

Dive Insight:

The Americans with Disabilities Act generally requires employers to provide “reasonable accommodation” to workers with disabilities who request them. While the appropriateness of the various arrangements requested may vary depending on the work environment and type of activity, the use of short breaks between unloading trailers – the arrangement required by the worker in the EEOC suit – has not affected the essential functions of the activity in question. EEOC argued.

If what the EEOC calculated happened as it claims, UPS may have been improperly involved in the interactive process – a common reason employers are charged with ADA lawsuits. When an employee contacts an employer to disclose a disability and request reasonable accommodation, the interactive process triggered requires that the employer work with the employee to address that disability, whether through the requested accommodation or otherwise possible solution. A blanket Refusal of admission the disability can be used as evidence of discrimination.

Finally, if the EEOC allegations are true and the hiring manager has labeled the employee a “liability” and fired him because of his disability, the employee may have a particularly serious case. In May, a jury ordered a Florida Burger King franchisee to pay more than $ 2 million to a former employee who was fired solely on the basis of a trachea tube.

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