ST. LOUIS, Mo. –(News Release/KFOR Jan. 12)–An Omaha-based trucking company has been forced to pay more than $335,000 to a hearing-impaired truck driver, months after an Omaha jury found in favor of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commssion on disability discrimination claims.
The ruling came from a U.S. District Court judge this week and both Werner Enterprises, Inc. along with Drivers Management, LLC must submit annual reports to the EEOC for the next three years with information about truck driving applicants and new hires, who are deaf. The judgement comes after a jury verdict, in which $36-million in punitive damages and $75,000 in compensatory damages were awarded to truck driver Victor Robinson.
A news release from the EEOC to KFOR News said they had sued Werner in U.S. District Court in Nebraska under the Americans with Disabilities Act, after the trucking company refused to hire Robinson, who is a licensed and qualified truck driver, in 2016. The case went to trial in 2023 and an eight-person jury found Werner Enterprises had violated the ADA in failing to hire Robinson because they didn’t provide him reasonable accommodation for his disability.
On Thursday, Judge John M. Gerrard also found that Werner intentionally discriminated against Robinson in violation of the ADA. The judgment reduced the jury’s verdict to $300,000, as required by federal law limiting damages in employment discrimination cases. The judge also awarded Robinson $35,682 in lost wages. Werner will also be required to pay pre-judgment interest on the wages.