EEOC accuses trucking company of disability discrimination

September 25, 2023

Land Line Staff


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit against Trico Transportation Services for allegedly violating federal disability discrimination laws.

According to the EEOC, Trico violated federal law when it rescinded a job offer and refused to hire a truck driver applicant based on his previous history of back pain.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the applicant applied for an open truck driver position with Trico in May 2021. Trico extended an offer of employment to him on the condition he pass a drug screen and provide proof of passing a Department of Transportation physical examination.

The applicant completed both tasks. However, Trico informed the applicant that the company was considering his medical history to be high risk based on his answers to the company’s medical questionnaire which revealed a history of pain symptoms in the past.

Two weeks later, a manager revoked the offer of employment even though no doctor had restricted the applicant’s activities and despite the fact he was able to perform the essential functions of the truck driver position.

“It is unlawful for employers to refuse to hire persons due to a perceived disability without making an individualized determination that they cannot safely perform essential job functions,” Michael Kirkland, director of the EEOC’s New Orleans Field Office, said in a statement.

The lawsuit asserts Trico’s alleged conduct violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on disability as defined by the act, including by regarding an applicant as having a disability.

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana after first trying to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency seeks injunctive relief, compensatory and punitive damages and lost wages and benefits.

“Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees whom they regard as being disabled, even though they may not be disabled,” EEOC New Orleans Field Office Senior Trial Attorney Scott Wilson said in a statement. “What matters most in this case is not the employee’s actual condition but how the employer perceived his condition and reacted to it.” LL

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