PHILADELPHIA (Legal Newsline) – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced an agreement with P.H. Glatfelter Co., a global paper manufacturer, that will see Glatfelter pay $180,000 and provide significant equitable relief to resolve allegations of disability discrimination.
According to the EEOC’s allegations, Glatfelter required all applicants for positions related to forklift operation or similar motorized industrial equipment to undergo a medical examination and pass a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) physical qualification standard for the operation of commercial motor vehicles.
Federal law, however, does not mandate drivers of forklifts or similar equipment to pass the DOT standards for commercial motor vehicles. The EEOC alleges that Glatfelter nonetheless applied the DOT standard in a way that screened out qualified applicants who had a disability.
In additional allegations, the EEOC charged Glatfelter with failing to conduct individualized assessments of applicants’ and employees’ ability to operate the equipment at issue, or to determine whether they could operate with reasonable accommodation. Glatfelter allegedly rescinded job offers to two qualified applicants with disabilities, Charles Stevens and Sarah Stine, an alleged act that violates the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
"Employers may choose to adopt qualification standards, but they must be consistent with the purpose and intent of applicable federal law," EEOC Philadelphia District Director Spencer H. Lewis Jr. said. "And those standards must accurately measure the individual's ability to perform the essential functions of the actual job at issue."