EEOC Releases UPS from Future Consent Decree Reporting Obligations

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Federal Agency Says Shipping Giant’s Compliance Efforts Warrant Early-Out
 
CHICAGO – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has, with court approval, released United Parcel Services, Inc. (UPS) from its remaining obligations under a consent decree that in 2017 settled a lawsuit filed by the agency alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Under the 2017 consent decree, UPS had to report to the EEOC on a semiannual basis for up to three years on its actions in response to employee requests for reasonable accommodations under the ADA. However, a provision in the consent decree allowed for the EEOC at its sole discretion to release UPS from its reporting obligations before three years.

Having reviewed five reports from UPS, the EEOC determined that UPS’s compliance efforts to date warranted ending the decree early, permitting UPS to forgo delivery of a sixth and final report. U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted EEOC’s request to end the decree early yesterday.

“UPS’s reporting showed that during the term of the consent decree, UPS employees made significantly more accommodation requests and, more important, UPS’s rate of granting those requests improved dramatically,” said Greg Gochanour, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Chicago District Office. “So we were willing to recognize UPS’s compliance efforts by exer­cising the decree’s early-release provision.”

Julianne Bowman, the EEOC’s Chicago District director, added, “When employers show a demonstrated commitment to following a consent decree and to making real changes in the workplace, the EEOC is open to early release from consent decrees that allow for it. Here, UPS showed that it was not only committed to the reporting process, but also to improvements allowing many more people with disabilities to remain employed with accommodations. That was exactly the result the EEOC was looking for.”

In 2009, EEOC sued UPS in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Case No. 09-cv-5291) alleging that UPS failed to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities and maintained an inflexible leave policy that terminated employees automat­ically after 12 months of leave. Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The EEOC and UPS agreed to resolve the dispute via consent decree. To settle the dispute, UPS agreed to pay $2 million to nearly 90 current and former employees. In addition, UPS was ordered to update its policies, train its accommodation administrators, and report to the EEOC. A provision allowed for early release at the EEOC’s discretion.

The EEOC’s Chicago District Office is responsible for processing discrimin­ation charges, admin­istrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimin­ation. More information is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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