Stevens Transport, one of the nation’s largest refrigerated truck lines, faces charges it violated the ADA when it refused to hire an Air Force veteran with bipolar disorder who applied for a driving position. The company, headquartered in Dallas, allegedly made the no-hire decision based on the medication the applicant was taking, not an individualized assessment, as the ADA requires.
The applicant told Stevens officials about his bipolar disorder diagnosis and provided the list of medications he was taking. A company doctor said the man could not drive while taking those drugs. However, the medications were not on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s list of banned substances.
The applicant also provided a statement from his medical provider declaring that he could drive safely.
When Stevens refused to hire the man, he filed an EEOC complaint. The parties were unable to settle the dispute and the EEOC sued on the man’s behalf. The lawsuit seeks back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for the victim, as well as injunctive relief.
The applicant has since been hired by another trucking firm, a fact the EEOC claims supports its argument he was fully qualified for the job.
Note: Employers that refuse to hire because the applicant takes legally prescribed drugs must have a well-documented basis for doing so.