Discrimination Suit Slapped On JBS Carriers Alleging Unlawful Handling Of Driver Applicants

New suit filed by the EEOC claims JBS Carriers unlawfully rejected job applicants who were disabled or it perceived to be disabled.

Denver, Colorado – Trucking giant JBS USA is facing a new American With Disabilities Act suit filed by the federal government for allegedly discriminating against job seekers with disabilities and physical limitations. According to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Denver last Friday, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claims JBS Carriers  rejected job applicants who were disabled or it perceived to be disabled through screenings performed by a third-party contractor.

The suit stems from the experience Cindy Divine, a veteran commercial truck driver, claims she had with the company in the spring of 2012. The suit claims Divine was asked to fly from her home in California to the company’s Greeley, Colorado, headquarters to undergo a screening performed by certified medical examining company ErgoMed Work Systems. According to the complaint, ErgoMed staffers determined in the course of the examination that Divine had degenerative shoulder issues. Divine says she told the examiners her shoulders were healthy but simply sore from carrying her bags from a bus stop to her motel the night before. ErgoMed staffers refused to let Divine complete the screening and sent a “no job match” recommendation to JBS Carriers according to the suit. JBS Carriers then later withdrew Divine’s job offer without notifying her, the suit alleges.

Divine was asked to fly from her home in California to Greeley to undergo a screening performed by ErgoMed Work Systems before she could be hired. During that screening, ErgoMed staffers determined Divine had shoulder issues. She told the staffers her shoulders were healthy but sore from carrying her bags from a bus stop to her motel the night before. ErgoMed staff refused to let her complete the screening and sent a “no job match” recommendation to JBS Carriers. JBS later withdrew Divine’s job offer without following up with her, the suit says.

 

The suit alleges that though Divine was not disabled, “JBS Carriers regarded Divine and other aggrieved individuals as disabled.” Mary O’Neill, a regional attorney with the EEOC, said in a statement, “A job candidate should be evaluated based on his or her ability to do the job, not based on the ability to pass an arbitrary medical exam or onerous physical testing that is not related to the actual job requirements.” She continued, “This arrangement operates to outsource disability discrimination.”

ErgoMed Work Systems are still employed by JBS Carriers at the time of the filing and the suit claims this shows a “systemic” pattern of discrimination in the driver screening and hiring process within the trucking company. JBS Carrier released a statement and it reads in-part, “We enjoy a diverse workforce and work hard to provide an inclusive environment of opportunity for all of our team members. These false accusations are inconsistent with our culture and do not reflect the values of the company.”

The EEOC is seeking relief including back wages and compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of Divine and others also named in the suit. The EEOC is also seeking a permanent injunction that would prohibit the company from using ErgoMed screening procedures and called on the company to implement policies that prevent disability discrimination in the workplace.

Photo courtesy of JBS Carriers.

 


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