SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The 9th Circuit vacated an injunction barring the United Parcel Service from requiring deaf employees to meet standards that are stricter than the government’s if they want to drive UPS trucks.
The Department of Transportation does not let employees who fail its hearing test drive DOT-regulated vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds. UPS applies the same requirement to drivers of the lighter UPS package vans.
A class of deaf and hearing-impaired UPS employees filed a disability discrimination lawsuit alleging that UPS had no right to impose stricter hearing standards. UPS argued that the DOT standard shows that a certain level of hearing is necessary for safety, and that the shipping company’s expanded requirement is a “business necessity.”
The circuit concluded that a jury should decide how much weight to place on the similarities between vehicles in the UPS fleet and their “slightly larger cousins” regulated by the DOT. Remanded. See ruling.