Trucking company sued over medical clearance policy

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Damages Awarded for Overly Broad Medical Inquiry Policy

A federal court has ordered an Arkansas trucking company to pay $477,399 in damages for subjecting its drivers to overly broad medical inquiries.

The ADA prohibits employers from inquiring into employee’s medical information, absent a showing that the inquiry is job related and consistent with business necessity.

PAM Transport, however, had a blanket policy, requiring drivers to report to the company every time they came into contact with a medical professional.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission first sued the company in September 2009, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. In May 2012, the court issued an injunction, requiring PAM Transport to change its policy.

Under the latest order, the company must pay 12 drivers $225,998 in back pay and interest and $49,114 in compensatory damages. In addition, the company must pay $202,287 in punitive damages, which are only provided in rare cases where the violation is intentional or particularly egregious.

“A punitive damages award almost equal to the other awarded damages reinforces the ADA’s prohibition against impermissible medical inquiries,” Laurie Young, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Indianapolis District, said in a news release.