Union Pacific Railroad Co. will pay $260,000 and furnish other relief to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit in a case involving a former employee at Ogilvie Transportation Center in Chicago.
In the lawsuit, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged that Union Pacific unlawfully discriminated when it refused to allow an employee who once had a brain tumor to return to work as a custodian at the center, a position Union Pacific contended was “safety-critical.”
EEOC’s suit contended that Union Pacific failed to conduct an appropriate individualized assessment to determine whether the employee could safely perform the essential functions of the job. Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Union Pacific agreed to settle the lawsuit before filing an answer to the EEOC’s complaint. It denies the allegations.
Under a two-year consent decree, agreed to by the parties and entered by the court, Union Pacific will pay $260,000 to the former employee. Union Pacific has also agreed to train a set of its Chicago service unit employees on the ADA’s protections and, for the term of the decree, to report to EEOC all future complaints of disability discrimination and denials of requests to return to work after a medical leave of absence.
The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago (EEOC v. Union Pacific Railroad Co., Civil Action No. 19-cv-6021) in September 2019, after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through the EEOC’s pre-lawsuit conciliation process.
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