Werner Enterprises and Drivers Management Ordered to Pay Deaf Truck Driver Over $335,000 in EEOC Disability Discrimination Case

OMAHA, Nebraska – Trucking companies Werner Enterprises, Inc. and Drivers Management, LLC have been ordered by a federal judge to pay $335,682 to a deaf truck driver, following a jury’s decision in favor of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on disability discrimination claims. The judgment also requires the companies to provide semi-annual reports to the EEOC for the next three years, detailing information about deaf truck driver applicants and new hires.

The verdict comes after a jury awarded $36 million in punitive damages and $75,000 in compensatory damages to truck driver Victor Robinson. The EEOC had filed a lawsuit against Werner in U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska (EEOC v. Drivers Management, LLC and Werner Enterprises, Inc., Case No. 8:18-cv-00462) under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), after the truckload carrier refused to hire Robinson, a licensed and qualified truck driver, in 2016. The EEOC pursued litigation after attempts to reach a settlement through the conciliation process were unsuccessful.

The case went to trial last year, and on September 1, 2023, an eight-person jury found Werner guilty of ADA violations for not hiring Robinson due to his deafness and failing to provide reasonable accommodation for his disability.

Senior Judge John M. Gerrard, in a judgment entered on January 11, also determined that Werner intentionally discriminated against Robinson, in violation of the ADA. The judgment reduced the jury’s verdict to $300,000, adhering to federal law that limits damages in employment discrimination cases. Judge Gerrard also awarded Robinson $35,682 in lost wages, and Werner will be responsible for paying pre-judgment interest on the wages.

Werner Enterprises, as stated on its website, has offices in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, and Australia. It is recognized as one of the top five truckload carriers in the United States. Its subsidiary company, Drivers Management, is responsible for employing, training, and managing drivers.

This ruling serves as a reminder of the importance of upholding the rights of individuals with disabilities in the workplace and the legal consequences for companies found guilty of discrimination. The EEOC continues to actively pursue cases involving disability discrimination, aiming to create a more inclusive and equal working environment.