‘100% healed’ policy is 100% wrong, court says — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

‘100% healed’ policy is 100% wrong, court says

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The federal court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania recently ruled that UPS’ policy of requiring injured employees to be fully healed before they can return to work constitutes discrimination under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA).

The case involved a UPS driver, Edward Supinski, who tore his shoulder while working his route. After a short convalescence, Supinski asked UPS to find him a position where he could work within his medical restrictions. Doctors restricted him to lifting less than 70 pounds.

UPS examined Supinski’s condition and refused to accommodate him, stating he wasn’t a qualified individual with a disability because of his medical restriction.

He filed a complaint under both the PHRA and the ADA, claiming UPS regarded him as disabled when he was not. In court, UPS moved to have the case dismissed, but the court would have none of it.

The court ruled the policy itself constituted discrimination and denied the motion. That left UPS with two options: Go to trial (and probably lose) or settle with Supinski.

Note: The “100% healed” policy has been a consistent loser under the ADA. Employers should negotiate accommodations in good faith and, where possible, find light-duty positions for recovering workers.

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