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Employment Law Alert: Pittsburgh Judge Certifies Nationwide Class Action Alleging ADA Claims Against United Parcel Service

On July 16, a federal judge in Pittsburgh issued a 204-page decision certifying a nationwide class action against UPS. Among the plaintiffs’ claims are that UPS maintained an unwritten rule requiring injured employees to be “100% healed” and have no medical restrictions before they could be returned to work, in violation of the ADA.  The judge said that the plaintiffs could use the "pattern and practice" framework for Title VII claims to prove their case.  Under this framework, the plaintiffs will be required to "prove that a discriminatory UPS policy existed – not that each person for whom they are seeking relief was a victim of the allegedly discriminatory policy."  If the plaintiffs satisfy this burden, UPS will then have the opportunity to refute the existence of this alleged policy.  If UPS is unable to satisfy its burden, "broad-based prospective injunctive or declaratory relief potentially would be warranted" said the Court.  It is anticipated that the number of class members could eventually reach 36,290.

Bottom Line

This decision is yet another example of the growing popularity of class actions among the plaintiffs’ bar. It also points out the problem with enforcing a “100% healed” rule which often violates the ADA.

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