The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Stevens Transport agreed in December to a settlement regarding claims that the trucking company violated federal law when it didn’t hire a truck driver because of the medication he takes to control his bipolar disorder.
A consent decree was filed Dec. 14 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
The EEOC filed a lawsuit in November 2016 claiming that Stevens said it couldn’t hire Brian Brown because the bipolar medication he used was against its company policy for truck drivers. According to the EEOC, Brown presented a report from his medical provider indicating that he was safe to drive. However, the physician who was contracted with Stevens to conduct medical evaluations said Brown couldn’t be hired while on those medications. The name of the medication was not released.
Dallas-based Stevens Transport answered the EEOC’s complaint in December 2016, saying the company opted to not hire Brown because “he was not qualified for the position of commercial truck driver.” Stevens said Brown failed to complete the application process and claimed that he “created a substantial risk to the motoring public and a violation of FMCSR 391.41.”
Meaghan L. Shepard, an EEOC trial attorney, previously said the drug didn’t automatically exclude a driver from consideration.
“What we contend is that the physician the company contracted with to do these exams did not do an individualized exam of Mr. Brown and failed to take into consideration a note he was attempting to provide from another physician that was familiar with his circumstances,” Shepard said. “It’s our contention that there was a broad-based exclusionary policy that was applied to Mr. Brown in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
According to the consent decree, Stevens agreed to pay Brown $54,000, and both parties agreed that $8,000 would be designated as lost wages.
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