The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced recently it has settled a lawsuit with Hirschbach Motor Lines (No. 81, CCJ Top 250) stemming from a pre-employment physical ability test for truck drivers.
Hirschbach will pay $40,000 and furnish other relief to settle the disability discrimination lawsuit. The settlement will be distributed among three individuals who were denied employment and participated in EEOC’s investigation and lawsuit, the agency said in a press release.
The lawsuit stemmed from a pre-employment back assessment, which tested, among other things, a driver applicant’s ability to balance and stand on one leg, touch toes while standing on one leg, and crawl, according to EEOC’s lawsuit.
EEOC said Hirschbach used the back assessment to screen out job candidates with pre-existing injuries and/or unrestricted medical conditions. EEOC alleged this was a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The agency added that the applicants had already received their Department of Transportation medical cards.
Hirschbach said as part of the settlement, it will be allowed to continue using an improved pre-employment physical exam to make sure its drivers can “perform the essential functions of the job.”
“While Hirschbach adamantly denied the allegations brought by the EEOC, we are pleased that we were able to come to a resolution of our differences with the EEOC,” the company said in a statement to CCJ Friday. “As part of the settlement reached with the EEOC, we have been allowed to continue to operate our business with an improved pre-employment physical exam in order to ensure our employee drivers can perform the essential functions of the job which is consistent with a business necessity. We clearly have the right to make sure our drivers can do the essential functions required of them as part of their employment at Hirschbach.”
Additionally, EEOC said as part of the settlement, Hirschbach has discontinued its 100%-healed policy that required over-the-road truckers who were injured to be 100% free of restrictions and limitations before they returned to work.