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UPS Settles With EEOC Over Alleged Disability Discrimination

Approximately 90 employees claimed that UPS failed to provide its disabled employees with reasonable accommodations in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In particular, the company was accused of having an “inflexible” leave policy that limited employees to 12 months of leave without exception. Once an employee reached the benchmark leave, UPS refused to engage in an interactive process, instead proceeding directly to termination.

The case was initiated by a 17-year employee with multiple sclerosis, who had taken a year of leave. When she returned to work, requiring a cane, UPS allegedly would not accommodate her need for assistance and refused her any additional time for further treatment.

EEOC and UPS reached a settlement amount of approximately $2 million. In addition, UPS must “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.” According to a statement by the EEOC, “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.” It has also been reported that UPS has agreed to consult legal counsel before firing employees who have reached the end of their medical leave of absence.