Federal Agency Charges That Flatbed Transportation Company Refused to Hire Applicant Because of Previous Back Injury
JACKSON, Miss. – Jordan Carriers, Inc., an over-the-road transportation company headquartered in Natchez, Miss., which hauls commodities throughout the eastern United States, violated federal law by refusing to hire an applicant because of a previous back injury, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, an experienced truck driver applied for a flatbed truck driver position and was offered the position contingent upon completion of a pre-employment screening at the company’s Natchez headquarters. During the screening, the driver told the examiner he had suffered a back injury 14 years ago. A company employee then told him he would not be allowed to complete the remainder of the medical exam because his past medical history rendered him ineligible for hire. The EEOC alleges the driver was fully capable of performing the duties of position, but the company denied him the job because it regarded him as disabled or because of his record of a disability.
Failure to hire an individual because of a perceived or past disability violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination in employment because of disability. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Jordan Carriers, Inc., Case No. 5:20-cv-191-DCB-MTP) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The agency’s lawsuit seeks the hiring of the driver along with retroactive benefits and monetary damages, including back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief.
“Jordan Carriers refused to hire a qualified truck driver because of a past back injury,” said Bradley Anderson, director of the EEOC’s Birmingham District Office. “The EEOC is dedicated to its responsibility to enforce the ADA and combat this type of deliberate discrimination.”
“The ADA requires that people with disabilities be evaluated on their ability to perform the job, not on stereotypes or assumptions,” said Marsha Rucker, regional attorney for the EEOC's Birmingham District Office. “An employer cannot assume an applicant is incapable of performing the job duties based on an applicant's medical history, but is required by law to make the assessment based on his or her present abilities.”
One of the six national priorities identified by the Commission’s Strategic Enforcement Plan is to address eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring.
The EEOC’s Birmingham District consists of Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties), and the Florida Panhandle.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.