Ashley Distribution Services Sued for Purportedly Refusing to Hire Truck Driver Regarded as Disabled

April 30, 2018

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit against Ashley Distribution Services, Ltd, asserting that the Wisconsin corporation that does business in Advance, North Carolina, violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it refused to hire an applicant because it regarded him as disabled.

In July 2016, the applicant applied for a yard driver position at the company’s Advance facility. Ashley Distribution offered the applicant the job on the condition that he obtain a Department of Transportation (DOT) medical certification, meet the physical requirements for the job, and show that he could perform the required job duties. Even though the applicant already had a valid DOT medical certification at the time of his application, he successfully completed a second DOT medical exam and successfully completed the company’s driving test.

However, Ashley Distribution allegedly was concerned that the applicant could not safely enter and exit a truck due to a rotator cuff injury he had disclosed during his DOT medical exam and thus required him to undergo a fit-for-duty exam.

The EEOC contends that Ashley Distribution declined to hire the applicant even though he was capable of performing the yard driver job. The EEOC is seeking back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief.

"An employer cannot refuse to hire an applicant based on fears or other assumptions about the applicant’s ability to safely perform the duties of the job, simply because the employer presumes an applicant has a disability," explained the EEOC Regional Attorney. "The EEOC will continue to litigate cases where disabled persons, including those who are regarded as being disabled, are denied jobs for which they are qualified."