EEOC Comes to Aid of Truck Driver Shunned Because He Took Medication for Bipolar Disease

The lull over Thanksgiving week with no new lawsuits filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ended today as the agency announced it has sued a trucking company for allegedly refusing to hire a job applicant because of his bipolar disorder.

According to the EEOC, Stevens Transport violated the Americans With Disabilities Act in its denial of employment to Bill Brown, a U.S. Air Force Veteran.

The lawsuit charges that Stevens, the largest refrigerated trucking company in Texas and one of the top four largest temperature-controlled carriers in the United States, told  Brown that he could not be hired as a truck driver for Stevens “per company policy” because of the medication he takes to control his bipolar disorder.

Brown presented a report from his medical provider indicating that he was safe to drive, but the physician with whom the company contracted to do medical examinations told him he could not be hired while on those medications.

However, there are no U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations prohibiting people on these medications from commercial truck driving, and Brown had completed an advanced truck driver training course and passed the DOT physical that is required to hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL). However, despite Brown’s qualifications to perform the job safely, Stevens refused to hire him, EEOC said.

Here’s the lawsuit in a nutshell: “The trucking company unlawfully refused to hire this qualified candidate, disregarding his physical exam results, his completion of training, his CDL and the positive report from his medical provider,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Robert A. Canino. “The company put up an unnecessary roadblock to Mr. Brown’s employment by discounting his skills and abilities as a driver when it turned him away.”

For more on the lawsuit, go here.

And for answers to common questions on how the ADA protects job applicants, click here.

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