Blind World Magazine

EEOC sues UPS, alleges disability discrimination.




Washington Business Journal - Washington,DC,USA.
May 11, 2006.




For the second time since March, The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit against United Parcel Service Inc. alleging some form of discrimination.


The EEOC on May 10 filed a lawsuit against Atlanta-based UPS (NYSE: UPS), alleging the shipping company fired a veteran employee with a degenerative eye condition because of the disability. The EEOC said the employee, Eugenio D'Oliveira of Philadelphia, had an employment record free from any safety violations prior to his termination in July 2004. D'Oliveira was a 17-year UPS employee at its Horsham, Pa., facility.


In response to the allegation, UPS released a statement saying: "UPS has a long record and tradition of hiring people with disabilities and we have many workers with disabilities in a wide variety of jobs throughout our workforce. We also have long-standing partnerships with many groups that support opportunities foe the disabled, such as the American Foundation for the Blind, the National Organization on Disability and the American Organization of Disabled Persons."


The EEOC alleges D'Oliveira, who worked as a sorter/loader, was fired after a new supervisor complained he was a threat to his own safety and others safety because of his retinitis pigmentosa visual impairment. D'Oliveira was suspended in April 2004 and required to provide medical documentation about his degenerative eye condition, which he did in June. The EEOC claims UPS concluded D'Oliveira could not safely perform his job and fired him without consulting his physician and without any objective medical or factual evidence. UPS failed to determine, the EEOC alleges, whether any reasonable accommodation could reduce the threat to safety it believed D'Oliveira presented.


The EEOC filed suit in federal district court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The suit seeks "all appropriate equitable relief and damages" for D'Oliveira.


In March the EEOC asued UPS claiming the company committed religious discrimination by allegedly refusing to hire a Rastafarian as a driver helper because of his beard. UPS said the claim is " totally unfounded and untrue" and noted the plaintiff never actually applied for a job at UPS.




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