EEOC Files Disability Discrimination Lawsuit Against UPS, Alleges Jacksonville, FL Employee Was Unlawfully Terminated

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On June 30th, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published a news release confirming that the agency has filed a disability discrimination lawsuit against UPS on behalf of an employee based in Jacksonville, Florida. The federal agency alleges that the man was wrongfully fired due to his disability status. Below, you will find a more detailed explanation of the allegations and overview on an employer’s obligation to provide a reasonable accommodation.

Allegations: A Florida Employee With Diabetes was Fired as a “Liability” 

The EEOC has filed a lawsuit against UPS in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. According to allegations raised in the EEOC’s complaint, a UPS warehouse worker in Jacksonville, FL was unlawfully removed from his position in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The EEOC asserts that an HR supervisor at UPS referred to an employee with diabetes as a “liability” to the company. The worker in question wears an insulin pump that has a glucose monitor attached. The complaint states that the man was able to perform all of the essential functions of the job and that he worked without issue before his termination.

Notably, the employee requested accommodation for his disability. He stated that he needed additional, occasional short breaks (under 5 minutes) to check the level of his blood sugar. If too low, he would also need the quick break to address the matter. UPS did not offer an accommodation and the man was terminated shortly after. 

Employers Covered By the ADA Must Offer Reasonable Accommodation to Disabled Workers 

The Americans with Disabilities Act as amended (ADA) is a federal law that applies to businesses, non-profits, and other employers with at least 15 total workers, part-time or full-time. In addition to prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability status, the ADA also mandates that employers covered by the statute must offer a reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals who can perform the essential functions of the job.

A reasonable accommodation is simply an adjustment or modification to the workplace and/or job duties to allow a fully qualified disability employee the opportunity to perform the position. An employer in Florida covered by the ADA is required to engage in a good faith process to try to find an accommodation that works for an individual employee. An accommodation is reasonable if it does not pose an undue burden on the company.

As a representative for the EEOC’s Miami District Office explained in its news release announcing the lawsuit against UPS, “it is imperative that employers provide reasonable accommodations” particularly when the disability accommodation in question presents “little, if any, disruption” to the company. 

Get Help From a Disability Discrimination Lawyer in Florida 

The Americans with Disabilities Act helps to ensure that workers are able to access equal employment opportunities, regardless of the disability status. Florida has similar protections under the Florida Civil Rights Act.  If you or your family member was subject to unlawful disability discrimination, please do not hesitate to contact an experienced Florida employment law attorney for help with your case.

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