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Feds say trucking company violated the law when they refused to hire a driver because of back pain

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This week, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a lawsuit against a logistics and speciality hauling company for allegedly discriminating against a truck driver who reported back pain symptoms during the hiring process.

The EEOC says that Trico Transportation Services, Inc. violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when they rescinded a job offer after learning that the unnamed truck driver applicant had reported back pain on a medical questionnaire

Officials say that the truck driver applied for an open position with Trico in May 2021. The truck driver was offered the job on the condition that he passed a drug test and a DOT physical exam.

“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,” the EEOC said in a news release.

The EEOC is seeking injunctive relief, compensatory and punitive damages and lost wages and benefits on behalf of the truck driver.

“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.”

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