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EEOC sues Werner Enterprises for not hiring deaf driver

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has slapped Werner Enterprises with a lawsuit accusing the Omaha-based transportation company of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act for refusing to hire a Texas driver because he is deaf.

Werner admitted not hiring Andrew Deuschle, but denied engaging in discriminatory practices.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, the 48-year-old man who was born deaf received an exemption from the hearing requirement set out in federal regulations for commercial motor vehicle drivers.

In 2014, while a student at Amarillo College’s Truck Driving Academy, Deuschle was told by a recruiter for Werner that they couldn’t hire deaf people for driving positions, EEOC attorney Emily Keatley wrote in the lawsuit.

She said after Deuschle graduated and got his commercial driver license, he applied to work for Werner and wasn’t offered a job.

In 2015, he applied again using its online application, mentioning his more than four months’ experience as a driver for C.R. England but not that he is deaf; and Werner told him his application had been pre-approved.

In a phone call using an interpreter, Deuschle disclosed he is deaf, Keatley said. When Werner didn’t offer him a job, he emailed the employee who had called him to express his continued interest in working for Werner.

She said a number of emails followed. Deuschle explained he had an exemption to the hearing requirement and provided a scanned copy of it, as well as his CDL to the company. But he never was offered a job.