Saturday, December 29, 2007

UPS & Deaf Drivers

An injunction has been dropped against UPS in a case involving a group of deaf drivers. A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has given employers room to make a new defense when faced with an ADA lawsuit. At issue is whether UPS can require drivers of small trucks to pass a hearing test. The federal government has required drivers of large trucks to pass a hearing test and UPS has used the same standard for smaller trucks. The deaf drivers say that practice is discriminatory. But the panel now says UPS can defend the company’s practice under a “business necessity” defense, saying it relies on a government safety standard for the policy. Despite the setback, it appears the issues remain the same in the case and a lower court may still rule in the driver’s favor. UPS will still have to show that an across-the-board policy against drivers with hearing loss is necessary.