Deaf driver wins $36 million verdict in opposition to Omaha trucking firm – Nebraska Examiner

LINCOLN – A federal jury has returned a $36 million verdict for a person who was deaf and was rejected by Omaha-based Werner Enterprises for a job as a truck driver regardless of graduating from the corporate’s driving college.

Nonetheless, for such discrimination instances, punitive and compensatory damages for employers with 500 or extra staff are capped at $300,000.

The discrimination case was filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Alternative Fee on behalf of Victor Robinson, who utilized for a job with Werner in 2016.

However he was rejected as a result of he was deaf, although he had acquired a “listening to exemption” from the Federal Motor Service Security Administration and graduated from a truck driving college run by Werner.

Violation of ADA

The EEOC mentioned in its lawsuit that the trucking firm did not take Robinson’s incapacity into consideration and violated the Individuals with Disabilities Act.

Werner’s attorneys, of their authorized response to the lawsuit, denied the allegations and claimed that the EEOC did not make good religion conciliation efforts earlier than submitting a lawsuit.

“Robinson’s bodily impairments couldn’t be adequately addressed in an effort to carry out the important features of his place,” Werner argued.

However a federal jury in Omaha took lower than two hours to succeed in a verdict Friday after listening to testimony throughout a four-day trial. The jury awarded $75,000 in precise compensatory damages and $36 million in punitive damages, however the EEOC cap totals $300,000.

EEOC Chairwoman Charlotte Burrows mentioned in a information launch that the jury’s verdict and award “ship a transparent message to employers around the globe that our nation is not going to tolerate discrimination based mostly on incapacity.”

For Werner, security is the very best precedence

“Deaf individuals, like everybody else, deserve a good likelihood to earn a residing and assist themselves and their households,” added David Davis, director of the EEOC St. Louis District Workplace.

A spokeswoman for Werner mentioned in an emailed assertion Saturday that the corporate was upset and was contemplating an attraction.

Jill Samuelson, assistant vice chairman of selling and communications, mentioned one other Omaha jury sided with Werner in a really related lawsuit earlier this yr.

“The corporate operates with the mantra that nothing we do is value getting harm or hurting others, whether or not they’re skilled drivers, clients or motorists basically,” Samuelson mentioned.