UPS argued that to prove disability discrimination, deaf workers were required to demonstrate an ability to drive safely.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit agreed that UPS violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by using qualification standards to screen out deaf individuals. The court held that UPS did not satisfy the burden of proof to show that application of a Department of Transportation hearing standard for jobs driving smaller vehicles was job-related and consistent with business necessity. Bates v. United Parcel Serv. Inc., 9th Cir. Ct. App., No. 04-17295 (10/10/06).
Impact: Employers are advised to carefully examine any broad qualification standards for particular jobs and to individually evaluate workers’ abilities to perform their jobs.