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A national trucking firm that contracted with a third party to administer preemployment screening of truck driving job applicants has agreed to pay $250,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The EEOC said in its statement Thursday that Greely, Colorado-based JBS Carriers Inc., which is the transportation affiliate of multinational meat processor JBS USA Holdings Inc., contracted with Denver-based ErgoMed System to administer the preemployment screening.
The EEOC alleged this process unlawfully screened out people with disabilities who were qualified for the truck driving jobs they sought and violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The agency said this screening subjected all applicants to a medical history questionnaire, a physical examination and nine physical abilities tests, and if an applicant failed any one of the tests, ErgoMed sent a negative job recommendation to JBS, which withdrew conditional job offers based on its recommendations.
The EEOC said JBS no longer uses ErgoMed and now only requires job applicants to obtain the Department of Transportation medical certification necessary to be a licensed carrier.
Under terms of the settlement, JBS will not contract with ErgoMed for three years and not implement any physical or medical screening for conditional hires apart from the DOT medical certification and a urine analysis, among other provisions.
The $250,000 settlement payment will be distributed among five individuals who were adversely impacted by the ErgoMed screening and who participated in the EEOC’s investigation, the EEOC said.
EEOC Denver field office director Amy Burkholder said in a statement, “The ADA prohibits arbitrary medical screens and onerous physical tests which prevent individuals from getting jobs for which they are qualified. The EEOC will continue to be vigilant of contracting arrangements that employers may have with companies like ErgoMed.”
JBS’s attorneys could not immediately be reached for comment.
In 2015, an Indianapolis trucking firm agreed to pay $200,000 to settle an EEOC disability discrimination case in which it was charged with requiring preemployment medical exams.
A woman’s fashion and accessories retailer, The Cato Corp., has agreed to pay $3.5 million to resolve a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigation related to its alleged pregnancy and disability discrimination, the agency said Monday.