The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed a class action lawsuit against the United Parcel Service, Inc. ("UPS"), the world’s largest package delivery company, alleging it violated federal law by rejecting an extension of medical leave as a reasonable accommodation for its employees with disabilities.
According to the allegations UPS violated the Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA") when Trudi Momsen, an administrative assistant at UPS, took a 12-month leave of absence from work when she began experiencing symptoms of what was later diagnosed as multiple sclerosis. She returned to work for a few weeks, but soon thereafter needed additional time off after experiencing what she believed to be negative side effects of her medication. Although Momsen could have returned to work after an additional two-week leave of absence, UPS fired her for exceeding its 12-month leave policy.
The EEOC filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Chicago after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement with UPS. The litigation, captioned EEOC v. United Parcel Service, Inc. (Civil Action No. 09-C-5291) and assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr., seeks back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for Momsen and a class of disabled employees whom UPS similarly refused to accommodate, as well as an order barring future discrimination and other relief.
“This case should send a wake up call to Corporate America that violating the Americans With Disabilities Act will result in vigorous enforcement by the EEOC,” said Commission Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “The ADA has been the law of the land for nearly two decades now, and employers simply have no excuse for failing to abide by its provisions.”