EEOC files lawsuit against major fleet for alleged illegal denial of employment

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Updated Jan 12, 2017
The EEOC has filed a lawsuit against Stevens Transport alleging the company did not hire a driver because of his bipolar disorder. (Photo by 365 Trucking)The EEOC has filed a lawsuit against Stevens Transport alleging the company did not hire a driver because of his bipolar disorder. (Photo by 365 Trucking)

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently filed a lawsuit against one of the country’s largest carriers, alleging the fleet did not hire a U.S. Air Force veteran as a truck driver because of his bipolar disorder.

According to the lawsuit, Dallas, Texas-based Stevens Transport (No. 38 on the CCJ Top 250) allegedly told Brian Brown he could not be hired “per company policy” because of the medication he takes to control his bipolar disorder. EEOC says Brown had documentation from his medical provider stating he was safe to drive, but the doctor Stevens Transport used to do medical exams told him he could not be hired while on the medication.

Stevens did not respond to multiple inquiries from CCJ regarding the lawsuit.

EEOC says there are no regulations prohibiting people using the medication from driving a truck. The lawsuit claims Brown had completed an advanced truck driver training course and passed the DOT physical required for his commercial driver’s license.

“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.”

EEOC says Stevens violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by not hiring Brown because of the medication he was taking. The agency is seeking back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for Brown, as well as injunctive relief.