FedEx Worker with Deafness Awarded $108,000 for ADA Discrimination

February 7, 2008

Training Resource Network: A US Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a jury award of $100,000 in punitive damages against FedEx for discriminating against a former package handler who is deaf. The district court awarded Ronald Lockhart, who is deaf and fluent in American Sign Language, the sums of $8,000 in compensatory damages and $100,000 in punitive damages. The awards were based on a jury finding against FedEx for failing to reasonably accommodate the worker under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Lockhart was employed as a package handler at FedEx's Baltimore-Washington International Airport facility. He worked twenty-five hours per week on various night shifts. While working for FedEx, Lockhart made repeated requests for an ASL interpreter and other accommodations, so that he could understand what occurred at employee meetings and training sessions. Fedex never did so, and then, according to the court findings, the company then unlawfully terminated Lockhart in retaliation for the discrimination charge he filed with the EEOC.

Dowload a copy of the Court's decision here (pdf).