UPS to Allow Hearing-Impaired Drivers
SAN FRANCISCO – Under a June 16 tentative settlement, the United Parcel Service (UPS) has agreed to allow some deaf and hard-of-hearing employees to compete for jobs driving small delivery vans after special testing and training, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The settlement, which awaits approval by a federal judge in San Francisco, would apply to about 1,000 workers and 1,250 vehicles at UPS, said attorney Laurence Paradis, executive director of Disability Rights Advocates in Berkeley, reported the Chronicle.
U.S. Department of Transportation regulations require drivers of trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds to pass hearing tests, but the company has applied the same standards to its smaller vehicles.
The agreement requires UPS to use a more lenient hearing standard, established by an expert panel, for qualified employees. Paradis said fully deaf individuals won't meet the standard, but many who consider themselves deaf or substantially impaired will pass the test and qualify for training, which would probably include sign-language interpreters and other communication aids.
UPS' fleet safety manager, Gerry Eaker, said the company "remains committed to treating our employees with disabilities, including those with hearing impairments, fairly, while maintaining our unwavering commitment to public safety," according to the Chronicle.