UPS Settles Disability Discrimination Suit of Visually Impaired 'Sorter/Loader'

December 13, 2006 ( - United Parcel Service (UPS) agreed to pay a former sorter/loader $100,000 to settle a discrimination suit that alleged the company fired him on grounds his degenerative eye disease was a safety hazard before a proper medical assessment was conducted.

The company had fired Philadelphia resident Eugenio D’Oliveira in July 2004 when his supervisor noted that a visual impairment caused by a degenerative eye disease was a threat to his safety and the safety of his co-workers. He was a 17-year veteran of the company and worked as a sorter/loader.

According to the discrimination suit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in May, D’Oliveira was suspended in April 2004 and asked to provide medical documentation about his degenerative eye condition, which he did. The agency said that the company made a judgment on whether D’Oliviera could safely perform his job without any medical evidence and failed to see if it could provide reasonable accommodations for him (See  UPS Faces Second Discrim Suit in Less than Two Months ).

D’Oliveira suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, which causes the cells in the retina to degenerate and die, leading to progressive loss of vision.

In settling the suit with D’Oliviera, UPS did not admit to any wrongdoing, but agreed to train all hourly employees at the suburban Philadelphia location where D’Oliviera worked about disability discrimination by no later than February 28, 2007. The company also agreed to train full-time management personnel at the location within the next two years on compliance with the company’s anti-discrimination policies.