Skip to comments.Court says UPS discriminated against deaf drivers
Posted on 10/10/2006 12:59:50 PM PDT by SmithL
San Francisco -- A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld a lower court ruling that UPS Inc. violated anti-discrimination laws by automatically barring the deaf and hearing-impaired from driving parcel delivery trucks.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson's 2004 ruling that the Atlanta-based company's practices breach the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Henderson, in a class-action case representing as many as 1,000 would-be drivers, ruled that the hearing impaired should "be given the same opportunities that a hearing applicant would be given to show that they can perform the job of package-car driver safely and effectively." The San Francisco federal court order was stayed pending appeal.
On appeal, UPS maintained its hiring practice was a safety issue and that it was not discriminating. The company did not immediately have a comment, a spokesman said.
"While UPS offered anecdotal testimony involving situations where a driver avoided an accident because he or she heard a warning sound, the company ... failed to show that those accidents would not also have been avoided by a deaf driver who was compensated for his or her loss of hearing by, for example, adapting modified driving techniques or using compensatory devices such as backing cameras or additional mirrors," Judge Marsha Berzon wrote for a three-judge panel of the appeals court.
The case was litigated by Disability Rights Advocates who represented current and former employees who were passed over for driving positions, and other potential employees who consented to what the group dubbed UPS's "deaf-need-not-apply" policy.
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
So....exactly WHY do trains blow their horns when they approach a crossing?
I am hearing impaired, and I have been driving for 30 years without a moving accident or a moving violation. My father drove for more than 50 years while completely deaf without an accident or moving violation. I know many hearing impaired and deaf people with near perfect driving records. On the other hand, I know many people with near perfect hearing who can't drive out of a parking lot without hitting something.
The court did not tell UPS that it had to hire every hearing impaired person who applies for a job, but rather, that UPS could not automatically exclude applicants from consideration simply because they're hearing impaired. The court's decision is consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and while we can debate whether the ADA is a good law or a bad law, the undisputed fact is that it is the law. For once, the 9th Circuit applied the law as written without allowing judicial advocism to run amok.
I always find that disturbing to say the least....
Good point about the cell phones. It's also valid that loud, booming music tends to totally distract a driver. When I'm in a difficult driving situation, the first thing I do is turn the radio waaay down just to be able to focus and concentrate. (Wife and daughter complain, but hey, who's the pilot and who's the crew?)
ATM machines are manufactured 'one size fits all" - that machine might end up in a lobby, hospital, convinience store, or built into the wall for drive-up use.
"Driving deaf is a serious safety issue."
You'd think so, but it's not true. I grew up with deaf parents, uncles, cousins, and assorted family friends. On average, they're safer drivers. I suppose their other senses are more acute. My dad drove for 50 years without a single accident, and my mom has been driving for 50+ years with just one accident (as a 4-year-old, I distracted her).
In any case, what's the difference between a deaf driver and a hearing driver who is listening to a loud radio? And finally, you don't see many deaf drivers chatting on cell phones, do ya?
Must be 'cause you wouldn't be able to talk to the dots.
Yeah, thanks 41.
Dale Jarrett says "What???"
Deaf people are legally allowed to drive? Excuse my ignorance on this one, but isn't hearing a required ability to drive a car? Now, I know there are many morons out there driving with their stereos blaring, but if caught, can't they be given citations for that? Isn't the reason behind that a safety reason? Maybe I'm just being dee-dee-dee, but if I'm not...oh, wait, you said the 9th circus?...nevermind...
Yeah and we should stop stupid people from becoming judges.
That will be a good first step.
You said -- "Are they out of their minds? Driving deaf is a serious safety issue. I am sure their insurer would not allow it."
In the general market, insurers cover deaf drivers right now. Being deaf and driving (right now) is not an issue with state agencies issuing drivers licenses and with insurers giving coverage.
In fact, from what I've seen from the way some hearing people drive, deaf people are better drivers because they are more alert on the visual level, because they make it a point to be.
You also said -- "So what will be next? Will the 9th Circuit rule that UPS should be forced to hire blind drivers as well?"
Well, that's obviously a joke since I'm sure even you "see" the difference.
You said -- "Deaf people are legally allowed to drive? Excuse my ignorance on this one, but isn't hearing a required ability to drive a car?"
Well, your question and a lot of other people's comments here show a severe lack of knowledge about the deaf community. Of course they're allowed to drive. It's never been a safety issue. State *do* issue driver's licenses to deaf people.
AND, that's *one good reason* for having the ADA -- in order to force people (if necessary) to come to terms and understand that these disabilities (that some people have) should not restrict them from doing certain things -- and also -- that society should accommodate them on other things.
I'm glad people are becoming *more educated* here.
Come on...we know DJ is blind, but he is not deaf!
I delivered for UPS for 29 years and took a hearing test with each physical. I doubt that if I had flunked that test, I would have been allowed to continue working therer, according to I.C.C. rules.
You said -- "In any case, what's the difference between a deaf driver and a hearing driver who is listening to a loud radio? And finally, you don't see many deaf drivers chatting on cell phones, do ya?"
Yes, they're more visually aware of their surrounding circumstances, because it's their "lifeline".
P.S. -- It's too bad that so many FReepers are so woefully ignorant on the subject. I've seen it before (on previoius threads) about the deaf community.
You said -- "So....exactly WHY do trains blow their horns when they approach a crossing?"
Because it sounds cool. And also, it scares the little kids.
Otherwise, look both ways and proceed carefully -- *regardless* of horn or "no horn".
The hearing driver listening to the loud radio would be distracted. The deaf driver would not.
And finally, you don't see many deaf drivers chatting on cell phones, do ya?
Well, now that you mention it . . .
You said -- "I see young kids driving by with music blaring so loud, they may as well be deaf."
Yeah, and the car manufacturers are advertising that their cars are *so soundproof* that you can't hear anything outside -- making the inside of your car your own private room (with no outside disturbances).
With me, I turn on the air conditioner blower and put it on high and I can't hear a thing outside (with that fan going). And I hear good (no problems there). Also, at times, I've had people in the car that want the radio on, up a bit loud, too -- and you're right, you can't hear what's going on outside.
In those cases, you're *highly dependent* upon your *eyes* to warn you of what's happening.
You said -- "A deaf person can operate a vehicle just fine and probably more observant of their surroundings than the hearing."
That's absolutely right. The deaf person has a highly tuned ability for "seeing". I don't mean that they actually see any better (physically) -- but rather -- that they *pay attention* better than the hearing person does. The hearing person will rely upon their sense of hearing to the detriment of their sight (at least to the extent that the deaf person uses it).
Have you noticed, UPS does not have any drivers in wheelchairs?
He's just gettin' a bit long in the tooth. Is UPS going with him to Toyota?
Don't know how to tell ya this, Tommy, but I recall reading years ago that UPS *was* sued for not allowing people who were blind in one eye to drive the trucks.
This either happened or my aging memory is failing me.
"DJ, you can go towards the front anytime now."
"Say that again!"
"Now is the time to GO, driver!"
"What did you say?"
"GO GO GO - NOW!"
"10-4. I'll just hang right here for a few more laps."
That's interesting, thanks for that little tidbit of knowledge! I didn't realize that.
This isn't a fair fight, logically, so I'm going to do the stand-up thing and withdraw.
Well, based on the last several shipments of mine that they have messed up, I would think that perhaps UPS has several visually handicapped personnel in the sorting area.
my mother was hard of hearing. but I still don't think it would have been wise for her to drive a UPS truck. this is the end of the matter for me. HELLO!
ATM machines are manufactured 'one size fits all' - that machine might end up in a lobby, hospital, convinience store, or built into the wall for drive-up use."
They are useful if you have a blind passenger.
Can you imagine the vast money the very same crooked trial lawyers will make suing UPS (a WONDERFUL company) for accidents caused by deaf drivers who cannot hear vehicle horns or childrens' screams?
Hey, blind drivers are also discriminated against!
"Last time I checked Jim Rob that founded this board was doing a pretty good job from his wheel-chair.?"
AND we have a winner! You just won the Non-sequetor award of the day.
Please note that Jim Rob didn't ask the government for anything, other than to keep its cotton pickin hands off the Internet.
The lawyers and 'activists' in the ADA crowd would have sued everyone and every company if they could. With teh ADA, they can. And given time, they will sue (or intimidate) all of us.
It is time for us to recognize the wisdom of the men who wrote the Constitution. They knew G*d didn't create all men equal. As proof of that, I give you any Olympic sprint Gold Medal winner versus Jim Rob, Helen Thomas versus any bright model, etc.
Even less did the Founders imagine man would become so arrogant as to assume that a mere law could outlaw extinction or control climate. Washington, DC needs to have its meds adjusted, STAT.
It's not about abilities, for we all have more ability than we will actualize. What it IS about is using our abilities. Again, Jim Rob is my case in point.
Shouldn't the braille portion be on the passenger side?
Your passenger will sit behind the drivers' seat.
Just wait - some deaf guy will back over someone or something and then the same idiotic lawyer will sue them again for negligence.
Who cares? These folks just wan't to drive the little brown vans. They don't need a CDL for that.
There's no way they discriminate against the blind. Have you ever watched the way those brown trucks are driven?
The 9th Circus is nothing more than a filthy rest stop on the highway to the Supreme Court - - you pull in, do your business, wash up real good, try not to make eye contact with anybody, and get out of there as fast as you can.
If I am wrong, I will like to see documentation that deaf drivers are indeed a threat.
Regarding the deaf individual's ability to communicate, it is really case by case basis. There are many Deaf people who are currently using hearing aids and cochlear implants to communicate with their customers.
Rush Limbaugh comes up in my mind, no matter how much he is able to use cochlear implant, he is Deaf without using it.
So if FReepers are making fun of Deaf people on this forum, or accusing them of not having an ability to do a mundane thing such as driving, that is quite childish to do so.
Odd enough, at the same time I do doubt that the same FReepers would forbid Rush Limbaugh from driving to his job at the radio station.
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." -Manuel II Paleologus
There's a popular myth that the loss of one sense makes the others more acute, but research doesn't support it. There's a good reason for that perception, though -- someone with four senses instead of five has less divided attention. A deaf driver isn't distracted by a blaring stereo (his or anyone else's), a ringing cell phone or a yakking passenger.
Deaf people don't see better, but they watch better -- just like blind people don't hear better, but they listen better.
Thanks for saying that. I too am deaf and that's all I ask for too. What you said in your post is very intelligent, unlike some of the ignorant comments made by fellow FReepers. It always amazes me how ignorant some people can be. Thanks for sharing and educating the "ignorant ones" among us.
If the state is willing to issue the driver a license, how can UPS have a cow?