Deaf Truck Driver Refused A Job: Negative Stereotypes In Action

Another truck driver discrimination case.

You do this long enough and you detect patterns.

The EEOC just sued a Nebraska truckload carrier under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).


The company allegedly refused to hire an applicant as a truck driver because he is deaf.

We’ve seen this before.

In May 2017 I said:

“I don’t know why, but it seems that employment discrimination lawsuits involving trucking companies are becoming a staple over at the EEOC.  As I collect disability cases filed by the EEOC against medical and healthcare folks (“easy pickins’ for the EEOC”), it seems that I am encountering a growing number of such cases involving truck drivers with disabilities.”

Maybe the trucking industry is particularly vulnerable, or maybe it is simply an easy target.  I don’t know.

The company told the applicant that “it could not hire deaf persons as truck drivers” even though “he had graduated from truck driving school, received his commercial driver license, and obtained from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) an exemption from the hearing regulation for the operation of a commercial motor vehicle.”\

People with deafness can perform their job tasks — however, they are too often seen as unable based upon “unfounded stereotypes.”


An EEOC regional attorney said that “Employers must learn that negative stereotypes about people who are deaf are unfounded. … deaf people can drive over-the-road trucks as well as anyone.”

Another EEOC attorney said that “Using stereotypes about disabilities to screen out applicants for high-paying trucking jobs cannot be tolerated. Just because someone is deaf doesn’t mean he or she cannot safely drive a truck.”

Employers:  listen and learn.  Don’t be a target.


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Richard Cohen

Richard B. Cohen is a partner in the New York City office of FisherBroyles, LLP, a national law firm. Richard Cohen has litigated and arbitrated complex corporate, commercial and employment disputes for more than 35 years, and is a trusted advisor to business owners and in-house counsel both in the United States and internationally. His clients have included Fortune 100 companies, domestic and foreign commercial and investment banks, Pacific-rim corporations and real estate development companies, as well as start-up businesses throughout the United States. Email Richard at [email protected]