A Texas trucking company has settled for $75,000 plus other relief after being sued in a disability discrimination lawsuit.
The lawsuit against Stevens Transport was filed by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Its settlement was announced on Tuesday, March 15th.
According to Insurance Journal, an applicant applied to work for Stevens Transport at the Mesquite, Texas facility in August of 2019. He was brought in for an interview after being contacted by a recruiter, during which he was questioned about a gap in his employment. The applicant was asked whether this gap was due to medical reasons, and the applicant responded that he had been diagnosed with hypertension, which forced him to utilize some medical leave while at a previous job.
The suit alleges that the recruiter later told the applicant that Stevens Transport would not hire him because he had used medical leave at his previous employer. The suit alleges that this behavior by Stevens Transport violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, which protects employees from discrimination based on their disabilities and limits an employer’s ability to make disability-related inquiries. The suit was filed after the EEOC attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The suit was settled by a three-year consent decree prohibiting future discrimination by Stevens Transport. The decree requires the company to provide annual training to employees in its recruiting department covering the requirements and prohibitions of the ADA, as well as Stevens Transport’s procedure for reporting discrimination complaints. The training will include a specific discussion about the legality of disability-related questions throughout each stage of the hiring process, including the fact that an applicant may not be questioned about their previous use of medical leave during the recruitment and interview process.
This training comes in addition to the monetary relief.