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EEOC charges Celadon with discrimination

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The U.S. Equal Employment Oppor-tunity Commission is suing Celadon Group Inc., charging that the Indianapolis-based trucking firm discriminated against candidates with disabilities who applied for driving jobs.

The EEOC claims in a lawsuit filed Feb. 29 that Celadon subjected job applicants to medical exams and failed to hire qualified truck-driving candidates because of disabilities, or perceived ones.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, an employer cannot conduct a medical examination of a job candidate until the employer has given the applicant a job offer conditioned upon passing the exam, Laurie Young, regional attorney for the Indianapolis office of the EEOC, said in a prepared statement.

But the agency says Celadon conducted medical exams to reject candidates before making job offers, which violates U.S. Department of Transportation standards.

The EEOC charges that Celadon has been violating ADA requirements since 2009.

Celadon CEO Steve Russell denied wrongdoing and said the company is abiding by Department of Transportation regulations.

“The reality is, if you hire a driver and then give them a physical, that’s crazy,” Russell said. “If you talk to the [Department of Transportation], they will say they don’t understand what the EEOC is trying to do.”

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Transportation couldn’t be reached for comment.

The suit alleges Celadon rejected at least 16 job applicants for truck-driving positions and cited four specific instances, three of which included applicants with hearing impairments and another suffering from deep venous thrombosis who was taking a blood thinner to treat the condition.

Medical exams given by Celadon included vision and hearing screenings, blood and urine tests, blood-pressure checks and other cardiovascular exams, as well as requests for medical histories and lists of prescribed medications, according to the EEOC.

The EEOC is seeking monetary damages on behalf of the applicants in addition to a permanent injunction barring the company from engaging in further employment practices that violate the ADA.

Celadon has 3,500 employees, including more than 2,400 drivers.•

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This story originally ran in the March 1, 2012, IBJ Daily. Indianapolis Business Journal is a sister publication of IL.

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