Covenant Transport To Pay $30,000 To Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit
Trucking Company Refused To Hire Applicant Because of Inability to Provide a Urine Sample Due to Medical Condition, Federal Agency Charged
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Covenant Transport, Inc., a trucking company based in Chattanooga, Tenn., will pay $30,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
The EEOC's suit had charged that Covenant discriminated against an applicant for a commercial truck driver position on the basis of his disability. Covenant conditionally approved the applicant's application, pending a license check and a drug screening. The applicant told Covenant's representative he was unable to provide a urine sample due to a medical condition, bladder exstrophy, but could provide blood for the drug screening. Covenant initially agreed to the blood screening, but later decided not to hire the applicant because of his medical condition and the fact that he could not provide a valid urine specimen.
Failing to make a reasonable accommodation for an applicant's disability violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No. 1:16-cv-00142 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. Covenant denied that it discriminated against the applicant.
According to the settlement terms written in a consent decree signed by Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas A. Varlan, Covenant will pay $30,000 in compensatory damages to the affected applicant. Addition¬ally, Covenant must develop a written drug testing policy and provide 90 minutes of annual training on that policy to its recruiters and head of safety for the next two years.
"The EEOC appreciates Covenant's willingness to resolve this case without protracted litigation," said Faye Williams, regional attorney for the Memphis District Office. "The agency remains committed to enforcing the ADA to remove barriers to employment for persons with disabilities."
According to its website, Covenant Transport, founded in 1986, operates as a premium transportation service provider specializing in critical, hazmat, government, Canadian and Mexican shipments. The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.