The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing Stevens Transport, the Dallas-based refrigerated trucking giant, for discriminating against an Air Force veteran with bipolar disorder, the agency announced Wednesday.
In its complaint, the EEOC alleges that Stevens Transport turned down Bill Brown for a job because of the medication he takes to treat his bipolar disorder.
“The trucking company unlawfully refused to hire this qualified candidate, disregarding his physical exam results, his completion of training, his commercial driving license and the positive report from his medical provider,” EEOC Regional Attorney Robert Canino said. “The company put up an unnecessary roadblock to Mr. Brown’s employment by discounting his skills and abilities as a driver.”
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According to the EEOC suit, Brown gave Stevens Transport a report from his doctor clearing him to drive the company's trucks, only to have the trucking company's contracted doctor tell the company Brown's meds made it too dangerous for him to drive, without ever having met him.
“Neither Stevens Transport nor the physician it contracted with made an individual assessment of Mr. Brown. In addition to violating the ADA, Stevens lost an opportunity to add a valuable employee to its team," EEOC Trial Attorney Meaghan L. Shepard Sr. said. "Mr. Brown is a veteran who gave years of his life for his country and who has gone on to become a successful truck driver with another company – which should demonstrate his professional fitness.”
Stevens Transport, which did not respond to a request for comment about the suit, touts its veteran hiring program on its website:
"Stevens Transport is forever indebted to all United States veterans for heroically serving our country. As a a military-friendly employer since 1980, Stevens Transport has always actively pursued military talent returning from active duty or seeking employment in a rewarding civilian occupation," the company writes. "Apply to work at Stevens Transport and join countless other military veterans who have called Stevens home for the past several years."
Wednesday's complaint is at least the second filed against the company in the last five years. In 2012, the company paid $50,000 to settle an EEOC claim from a paraplegic man who said the company refused to hire him due to his disability.