In the settlement in San Francisco, U.P.S. pledged to provide deaf workers with effective communications, including interpreters, for interviews, orientation, training, safety meetings and disciplinary sessions.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers predicted that the settlement would encourage other companies to do more to accommodate deaf employees. The settlement was announced in San Francisco, after the lawsuit had been tried for six weeks in a federal courtroom there.
“This settlement is precedent-setting,” said Caroline Jacobs, a lawyer with Disability Rights Advocates, a nonprofit law group. “It sends a message to employers throughout the country that disabled employees deserve the same opportunities in the workplace as any other employee, and the nation’s fourth largest employer can’t treat its deaf employees as second-class citizens.”
U.P.S., a package delivery service, has 320,000 employees in the United States.
At the trial, Babaranti Oloyede, a Bay area employee at U.P.S., testified that the company refused to provide him with an interpreter during a safety training session on watching for packages that might carry anthrax. He said that over 10 years the company never provided a qualified interpreter for any other training.