Former UPS worker awarded $2.63 million

Discussion in 'UPS Discussions' started by beatupbrown, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. beatupbrown

    beatupbrown Member

    Former UPS worker awarded $2.63 million

    An employee for 18 years with United Parcel Service, Keith Jones lost his job as a package car driver after he suffered a shoulder injury and sought workers’ compensation.
    Jones had a history of work-related injuries and workers’ comp claims. After his October 2003 injury, Jones claimed his immediate supervisor asked him if he “knew what work comp fraud was” and said he was harassed by other UPS supervisors.
    UPS requires that package car drivers be able to lift packages weighing 70 pounds overhead. But after the company doctor examined Jones and limited his lifting to 20 pounds, Jones was released for modified duty. A second doctor imposed similar lifting restrictions.
    A third doctor, however, concluded that Jones could return to his old job without restrictions. UPS’ doctor later came to the same conclusion. Nonetheless, two months after sustaining his injury, UPS told Jones he would not be allowed to return to work.
    In 2005, Jones sued UPS for disability discrimination and retaliation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1974 and Kansas public policy. In 2005, a federal judge threw out most of the claims. Jones appealed and the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, leaving only Jones’ claim for retaliation under Kansas public policy.
    That, however, was enough for a federal jury last month to award Jones a whopping $2.63 million in damages, including $2 million in punitive damages.
    “We were able to show the outrageous and brazen fashion in which UPS retaliated against Mr. Jones through evidence of, among other things, repeatedly and admittedly sabotaging his efforts to return to work after he filed a workers’ compensation claim,” one of Jones’ attorneys, Frederic D. Deay II, said in an e-mail.
    In the petition filed on behalf of Jones, Deay and Jones’ other attorneys, George Barton and Phyllis Norman, went further than that, asserting that the conduct of UPS was part of a nationwide corporate policy to harass employees who sustain work-related injuries and file workers’ comp claims.
    “It is UPS’ policy to create a work environment so hostile and disruptive for its injured employees that they will either altogether avoid exercising their lawful rights and/or resign — if they are not first terminated,” the petition alleged.
    Kristen Petrella, a spokeswoman for UPS, declined to address that allegation but said the company was “an employer of choice, recognized for opportunity, training, safety and benefit programs.”
    She said UPS disagreed with the Jones verdict and had filed a notice of appeal.
    In a case last year in Pennsylvania, employees contended that UPS discouraged injured workers from returning unless they were “100 percent healed” and had no medical restrictions.
    A federal judge certified a nationwide class action on behalf of former and current UPS employees who allegedly were prevented from returning to work for those reasons. UPS has appealed.
     
  2. trplnkl

    trplnkl 555

    When I had rotator(sp) cuff surgery a third doctor said I didn't even need the surgery AFTER the fact. This third doc was hired by the comp insurance company and never laid eyes on me.
     
  3. stevetheupsguy

    stevetheupsguy sʇǝʌǝʇɥǝndsƃnʎ

    It's a sad state of affairs when the company you work for would rather get rid of you than make you better. It would also be a good thing to not only teach safe work methods, but to give us wellness check ups in our benefit pkg. This way we could really stay ahead of the game.
     
  4. av8torntn

    av8torntn Well-Known Member


    I can top that. When I tore my rotator cuff the UPS doctor said I just had a sprain. My center manager took away my package car with power steering so for three weeks I ran my route making only left turns since I could hardly use my right arm. I then told my manager they needed to send me back to another doctor and he tried to refuse saying he could not afford to lose a driver. :happy-very: Luckily four years later after surgery and rehab no problems. After this I now have to fill out some habits form once a year.

    From my point of view it is hard to believe that UPS has not lost many more of these lawsuits.
     
  5. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Very proud grandfather.


    I assume you agree with me that the DOT physical exam is less than comprehensive. Cough, pee, can you see---see you in 2 years.
     
  6. trickpony1

    trickpony1 Well-Known Member

     
  7. av8torntn

    av8torntn Well-Known Member

    Same manager. One driver had his license expire. Two weeks every single day he asked to either be off or get a half day to renew his DL. center manager sends him on road anyway. Of course he has an accident. Result. Driver terminated for two months. On car supervisor who was also safety supervisor terminated permanently. center manager promoted. :happy-very: No joke.

    I think we all know that maybe UPS cares about the safety of their employees on the corporate level but they for the most part do not strive for safety on the operational level. I think I am being kind with that statement.
     
  8. Baba gounj

    Baba gounj pensioner

    I remember one UPS doctor everyone who was returning to work from an injury had to see, all this guy did was ask everyone the same question.....How is your sex life ?
     
  9. trickpony1

    trickpony1 Well-Known Member

    what does that tell you?
    It tells me the doctors that the company hires are low life individuals with twisted minds.
    I have heard similar stories. What a coincidence.
     
  10. upsdude

    upsdude Well-Known Member

    Could someone post the link to that story. A guy in my center may have a similar case.

    The procedure here is to send employees to the company doctor to certify they’re “fit for duty”. The company doctor has been making it difficult for many of those folks to return to work. Example, driver suffers a knee injury, the knee surgeon releases the driver back to work. During the time out of work driver’s dot card expired. Company doctor now refuses to issue a dot card because employee had a past knee injury. No, not because of a physical limitation, just because the driver had a past injury/surgery.

    One of my coworkers suffered a back injury, the company doctor had the driver out for 2 months before ordering an xray. The company doctor suggested more than once that the driver should find another job. Employee finally had back surgery and the surgeon released the driver back to work. You guessed it, the company doctor kept the driver out another month and finally released the driver back to work.

    From what I’ve seen it looks like this so called doctor is trying to weed out anyone with an injury or folks over 40. Fortunately state law demands an injured employee be given a choice of 3 doctors for treatment. Most of the folks here are now wise the “preferred” doc and seek treatment from one of the other 2 on the list.
     
  11. New Englander

    New Englander New Member

    The driver should be fired for shear stupidity on allowing his license to expire and at worst just not calling in sick to get it fixed.

    Duh....a license is pretty much a requirement of our job - if he can't take that seriously we don't need him.
     
  12. stevetheupsguy

    stevetheupsguy sʇǝʌǝʇɥǝndsƃnʎ

    Absolutely!
     
  13. av8torntn

    av8torntn Well-Known Member


    Of course but how smart was the center manager to send him out on the road when in the morning pcm the driver said his DL was expired and needed time off to renew it? From my point of view how many times can you ask for time off to get you DL stuff taken care of? Ten was not enough. Seems like a licensed driver at the least would be safer than a non licensed one. Like I said UPS does not really care about safety on the operational level. It may be different where you are but not here.

    Another example of a lack of safety awareness at our building. As I take a load out the gate the guard is required to open our rear door. This is for no reason since I have asked the guards what they are looking for and none of them know. Now I have to get out at the gate and make sure the rear door is secured before hitting the road to finish my pretrip. When we come in the gate the guards open the door and dodge boxes at times and now we have to get out and help load our customers packages back in the trailer. So our company that talks the talk on safety does not walk the walk. They expose people unnecessarily to gate traffic and guards to possible falling packages out of the trailers for no reason. I've got plenty more but I think the safety program at UPS is a joke. One that someone in HR got together with their friends, got drunk and came up with this junk.
     
  14. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Very proud grandfather.

     
  15. av8torntn

    av8torntn Well-Known Member

     
  16. trickpony1

    trickpony1 Well-Known Member

    I don't think it's the doctor.
    I think the doctor receives instructions from the company nurse on each and every driver.
    How do I know this?
    In a recent court case the company nurse was depositioned. In her deposition she stated, to the effect that, ".....this was all my doing....I called the doctor and told him to disqualify {the driver}".
    The company doctors we are forced to see can't sneeze without calling the company nurse first.
    And, yes, I have the court case number.
     
  17. Joseph Grimm

    Joseph Grimm Member

    Disgusting.
     
  18. soberups

    soberups Pees in the brown Koolaid

    I did once have to tell Dr. Longfinger that I didn't need him to get in touch with my "inner self."
     
  19. soberups

    soberups Pees in the brown Koolaid

    Actually I think you have it backwards. For the most part, the operations people we deal with are still human beings. On the corporate level, you are dealing with a company that made a business decision that the life of its driver was not worth the $50 it would have cost to equip its older vehicles with a 3 point seat belt. The operations level people dont dont have the authority to make meaningful changes in the workplace; they dont even get to decide what hand to wipe with until they get the daily memo from corporate.
     
  20. av8torntn

    av8torntn Well-Known Member

    I may have it back wards but it is just my limited view. I am a young UPS'er. I only have 16 years in. I see all these mandated safety films and forms we fill out. I have seen these mandated safety committees. This to me gives the appearance that corp. wants us to at the very least appear they care. Again from my limited view and experience it seems the weak link is the immediate management and supervision. My thoughts are that safety committee ideas are not acted on and safety measures are not enforced. Again I admit I may have it back wards, i accept that. I was just stating my view. I have never even met someone from corporate so I have a very limited view.