Saturday, August 29, 2009

EEOC sues UPS for violating the ADA by limiting workers' medical leave

From Bloomberg News:

United Parcel Service Inc., the world’s largest package-delivery company, violates federal law by limiting workers’ medical leave, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in a lawsuit.

UPS since at least 2002 has had an inflexible 12-month leave policy, which doesn’t provide for reasonable accommodation of employees with certain disabilities, the government said August 27 in federal court in Chicago. The policy violates the Americans With Disabilities Act, the EEOC said.

The agency, which is responsible for enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws, said the litigation was prompted by a complaint filed by Trudi Momsen, a UPS worker with multiple sclerosis who was fired.

Norman Black, a spokesman for Atlanta-based UPS, said the company has a “generous and flexible” leave policy and the lawsuit is “surprising and misdirected.”

“The employee in this case never asked for an accommodation under the Americans With Disabilities Act,” Black said in a statement. “Following nearly a year’s leave of paid absence, she returned to work after being released to return to her regular job without restrictions. After returning to work for just 18 days, she then, in essence, abandoned her position without ever providing management any medical documentation justifying additional time off.”

The company in July won reversal of a class-action certification of a suit filed on behalf of employees who claimed they were discriminated against for trying to return to work after taking leave for medical reasons. The workers now must sue individually if at all.

UPS fell 24 cents to $53.71 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have fallen 2.6 percent this year.

The case is U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. United Parcel Service Inc., 09-cv-05291, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).