Flatbed Transportation Company Refused to Hire Applicant Because of Previous Back Injury, Federal Agency Charged
JACKSON, Miss. – Jordan Carriers, Inc., an over-the-road trucking company headquartered in Natchez, Miss., has agreed to pay $60,000 and furnish other significant relief to settle a federal lawsuit charging disability discrimination brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, an experienced truck driver applied with Jordan Carriers for a flatbed truck driver position and was offered the position contingent upon completion of a pre-employment screening. 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 lawsuit sought back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief.
In addition to $60,000 in monetary relief, the two-year consent decree settling the lawsuit re-quires Jordan Carriers to provide training to its managers and supervisors on its obligations under the law and modify its anti-discrimination policy as necessary to comply with the ADA. The decree also prohibits Jordan Carriers from engaging in any discrimination or retaliation because of disability and requires the company to post notices on its bulletin boards informing employees of their right to contact the EEOC if they feel they have been discriminated or retaliated against.
“Refusing to hire a qualified candidate simply because of a past injury is a violation of federal law,” said Bradley Anderson, district director of the EEOC’s Birmingham District Office. “The Commission remains dedicated to vigilantly enforcing the ADA.”
EEOC Regional Attorney Marsha Rucker added, “Unfortunately, some employers still deny job opportunities to qualified people who are ready and able to perform the job simply because of myths and fears about their medical impairments or disabilities. This settlement should remind employers that the EEOC continues to prosecute cases where job applicants are denied reasonable accommodations.”
Jordan Carriers is a Mississippi corporation which hauls commodities throughout the eastern United States.
One of the six national priorities identified by the Commission’s Strategic Enforcement Plan is to eliminate 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.