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EEOC sues Chattanooga transportation company for disability discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is filing a lawsuit against Chattanooga-based Covenant Transport, Inc., after it says the company violated federal law by refusing to hire an applicant because of his disability. (Image: MGN)

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is filing a lawsuit against Chattanooga-based Covenant Transport, Inc., after it says the company violated federal law by refusing to hire an applicant because of his disability.

The EEOC filed the lawsuit on Wednesday.

The lawsuit says the unidentified applicant applied for employment as a commercial driver. Covenant conditionally approved his application pending a license check and drug screening. The applicant told Covenant's representative he was unable to provide a urine sample due to a medical condition, bladder exstrophy, but could provide blood for the drug screening. Exstrophy of the bladder is a congenital absence of a portion of the abdominal wall and bladder wall.

The EEOC says at first, Covenant agreed to the blood screening, but later decided not to hire the applicant because of his medical condition and the fact that he could not provide a valid urine specimen.

Covenant withdrew the offer of conditional employment. EEOC's suit also claims the company knew the applicant could not provide a valid urine specimen due to his medical condition and refused to provide him the opportunity to undergo drug screening because of his disability.

The EEOC says such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from refusing to hire an applicant because of a disability.

EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, (Civil Action No. 1:16-cv-00142) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

The federal agency seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages for the claimant, as well as injunctive relief.

"EEOC remains as committed as ever to enforcing the ADA to remove barriers to employment for persons with disabilities," said Katharine W. Kores, district director for the Memphis District Office.

According to its website, Covenant Transport, founded in 1986, operates as a premium transportation service provider specializing in critical, hazmat, government, Canadian and Mexican shipments.

Depend on NewsChannel 9 to let you know the outcome of this lawsuit.

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