Werner Illegally Rejected Deaf Truck Driver Applicant, Suit Says

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By Kodichi Nwankwo

Werner Enterprises Inc. refused to hire a deaf applicant even after the candidate obtained an exemption for his disability and received his commercial driver’s license, the EEOC alleges in a lawsuit.

The Omaha, Neb.-based trucking company told Andrew Deuschle that it doesn’t hire deaf people, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claims in the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska. The company turned Deuschle down even after he graduated from truck driving school, received his commercial driver’s license, and obtained an exemption from the hearing regulation to operate a commercial motor vehicle, according to the EEOC.

The lawsuit alleging violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act was filed after the EEOC failed to reach a pre-litigation settlement with the company.

Representatives for Werner weren’t immediately available for comment July 11.

“People who are deaf face many challenges, but finding and holding a good job should not be one of them,” Andrea Baran, an EEOC regional attorney, said in the statement announcing the lawsuit. “The EEOC will hold accountable those employers who have not learned that deaf people can drive over-the-road trucks as well as anyone.”

Werner Enterprises is a large U.S. truckload carrier.

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