Fired worker takes on global behemoth and wins

Every day of the year, the United Parcel Service flies and drives packages of all sizes in and out of Milwaukee. The company’s bustling brown trucks have long been familiar sights on city streets all over the nation.

The world’s largest package delivery company is being forced to make changes to its worker leave policy by a single former employee, however. UPS recently settled for $2 million a disability discrimination lawsuit that originated with her. 

According to a recent news article, after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis the worker took a 12-month leave of absence provided for under UPS policy. She was terminated after she returned to work and soon requested an additional two-week leave for medical reasons.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said that UPS’s “inflexible leave policy” resulted in the firing of disabled workers who were unable to return to work after taking 12-month leaves. By terminating those workers, UPS was effectively eliminating an ADA-mandated dialogue between employees and employer. That dialogue is required in order for employers to determine whether additional reasonable accommodations are needed.

Though the lawsuit originated with the single employee, it later included a class of nearly 90 other former and current employees who said they had also experienced disability discrimination by UPS.

The company has agreed to revise its practices and policies on reasonable accommodations. The settlement spells out that UPS’s new policy needs to “include the flexibility to work with employees with disabilities who may simply require reasonable accommodation to return to work.”

That former UPS employee refused to accept an unfair outcome. Her fight for justice has improved not only her own life, but the lives of other workers.

Contact the Milwaukee law firm of Alan C. Olson & Associates to discuss your employment law concerns.


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