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.