$180,000 Settlement in Disability Discrimination Lawsuit Against Paper Manufacturer

Friday, January 29, 2016

P.H. Glatfelter Company, a global paper manufacturer headquartered in York, Pa., will pay $180,000 and provide significant equitable relief to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit. 

EEOC charged that Glatfelter required all individuals who applied for or worked in positions involving operation of forklifts or similar motorized industrial equipment to undergo a medical exam­ination and pass a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) physical qualification standard for the operation of commercial motor vehicles. Federal law does not require drivers of forklifts or similar equipment to pass the DOT standards for commercial motor vehicles. According to the suit, Glatfelter nonetheless applied the DOT standards in a manner that screened out qualified individuals with disabilities.

EEOC further maintained that Glatfelter failed to conduct individualized assessments of applicants' and employees' ability to operate the equipment at issue or to determine whether a reasonable accommodation would enable them to do so. EEOC said that Glatfelter rescinded job offers to two qualified applicants with disabilities, Charles Stevens and Sarah Stine, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). 

EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. P.H. Glatfelter, Civil Action No. 15-cv-01881) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

In addition to the $180,000 in monetary relief to Stevens and Stine, the three-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit enjoins Glatfelter from violating the ADA in the future. Pursuant to the decree's requirements, Glatfelter must revise its qualification standard to ensure that it is job-related and consistent with business necessity and includes an individualized assessment of a candidate's ability to do the job, with or without reasonable accommodation. Glatfelter will also post a notice about the settlement at all of its production facilities.

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