UPS Will Settle Inflexible Leave Policy Nationwide Disability Bias Suit For $2 Million

August 14, 2017

International shipping giant United Parcel Service, Inc., (UPS) has agreed to pay $2 million to nearly 90 current and former UPS employees to resolve a nationwide disability discrimination lawsuit filed in 2009 by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), as well as to conciliate related administrative charges.

The EEOC had charged that UPS failed to provide UPS employees with disabilities the reasonable accommodations that would enable them to perform their job duties. According to the Commission, UPS maintained an inflexible leave policy, under which the company fired disabled employees automatically when they reached 12 months of leave without engaging in the interactive process required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

In addition to providing $2 million in monetary relief, UPS has also agreed to update its policies on reasonable accommodation, improve its implementation of those policies, and conduct training for those who administer the company's disability accommodation processes. The company also has agreed to provide the EEOC periodic reports on the status of every accommodation request for the next three years to ensure the efficacy of its procedures.

"The ADA requires companies to make a real effort to work individually with their employees with disabilities to provide them with the necessary and reasonable accommodations that will allow them to do their jobs," said Greg Gochanour, regional attorney of the EEOC's Chicago District Office. "As a result of this lawsuit, UPS now has practices in place to better ensure that this happens."

Julianne Bowman, the EEOC's Chicago District director, added, "Having a multiple-month leave policy alone does not guarantee compliance with the ADA. Such a policy must also include the flexibility to work with employees with disabilities who may simply require a reasonable accommodation to return to work. UPS has now made changes which will allow more people to keep their jobs."

According to company information, Atlanta-based UPS has over 434,000 employees and had revenues of $61 billion in 2016.

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (case number 09-cv-5291) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.