Trucking Company Revoked Offer of Employment Because of Applicant’s Back Pain History, Federal Agency Charges
NEW ORLEANS – Trico Transportation Services, Inc., a logistics management and specialty hauling company, violated federal law when it rescinded a job offer and refused to hire a truck driver applicant based on his previous history of back pain, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the applicant applied for an open truck driver position with Trico in May 2021, and 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, but 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 that 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.
Trico’s alleged conduct violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on disability within the meaning of the ADA, including regarding an applicant as having a disability. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana (Case No. 2:23-cv-01298) 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.
“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,” said Michael Kirkland, director of the EEOC’s New Orleans Field Office.
EEOC New Orleans Field Office Senior Trial Attorney Scott Wilson said, “Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees whom they regard as being disabled, even though they may not be disabled. What matters most in this case is not the employee’s actual condition but how the employer perceived his condition and reacted to it.”
For more information on disability discrimination, please visit https://www.eeoc.gov/disability-discrimination.
The EEOC’s New Orleans Field Office, which is part of its Houston District Office, has jurisdiction over Louisiana and parts of Texas.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.