UPS defends practices after disability lawsuit filed by deaf man who wants sign language interpreter

By Kerry Goff | Dec 18, 2015

PHILADELPHIA - In a complaint filed on Nov. 16 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, United Parcel Service was accused by a hearing-impaired employee of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

In the claim, employee Michael McDonald stated that he was not provided proper accommodations for his disability, mainly that he was never provided an American sign language interpreter.

UPS has addressed similar claims on a larger scale in the past. In 2003, UPS settled a discrimination lawsuit brought by at least 1,000 hearing-impaired workers for $10 million. The settlement not only compensated those workers, it was touted as being “precedent-setting” by disability rights advocates, as quoted in a 2003 New York Times article.

In the 2003 settlement, UPS agreed that company leaders would meet at least three times a year with hearing-impaired employees to discuss possible work concerns. It was also added that the company would provide each hearing-impaired worker with a vibrating pager to help with emergency evacuation procedures.

“As an equal opportunity employer, we highly value all of our employees.” UPS spokesperson Glenn Zaccara recently told Pennsylvania Record. “UPS has provided this employee reasonable accommodation, in accordance with our policies.”

With regards to diversity and inclusion, UPS also states, “UPS’s definition of diversity extends beyond race, age and gender to also include differences in ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, education, religion, physical ability, values, backgrounds and experiences.”

The employee is requesting accommodations for future employees, as well as personal monetary compensation for emotional damages.

UPS is a global company that manages the flow of goods, funds, and information in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, with 435,000 employees worldwide.

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