EEOC Claims UPS Medical Leave Policy is Discriminatory

August 28, 2009 ( - In a class action lawsuit filed in federal court in Chicago, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged that Atlanta-based United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by rejecting an extension of medical leave as a reasonable accommodation for its employees with disabilities.

The suit is being filed on behalf of a class of employees who were fired after exceeding UPS’ 12-month leave policy. “[P]olicies like this one at UPS, which set arbitrary deadlines for returning to work after medical treatment, unfairly keep disabled employees from working,” said EEOC Chicago Regional Attorney John Hendrickson, in a press release.

The EEOC said 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. Following its investigation, the EEOC reached an administrative determination that UPS failed to accommodate Momsen’s disability, in violation of the ADA.

According to the press release, the EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement with UPS.

UPS describes itself as the world’s largest package delivery company.