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San Diego UPS worker witnesses murder, discriminated by employer

A UPS worker's routine for delivery packages in the San Diego area was anything but ordinary one work day after he had witnessed a murder. After the incident, the UPS worker suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and requested that his normal route for delivering packages be changed so that he did not have to relive the incident every time he drove past the murder scene for work.

However, UPS failed to accommodate the employee's disability by transferring him to a new route, even after several requests had been made by the employee. The UPS worker is now filing a lawsuit in San Diego County citing disability discrimination, retaliation and constructive discharge in an effort to protect his rights under state and federal labor and employment laws.

When employees and job applicants in California have disabilities, either mental or physical, employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for employees so that they can continue to do their jobs. There are some situations in which an employer may terminate an employee or deny a job applicant a position when reasonable accommodations cannot be made.

In this man's case, though, switching his delivery route could be considered a simple accommodation that should have been made by UPS.

According to the man's lawsuit, he had witnessed a shooting while working his normal route delivering packages for UPS. The driver tried to help the victim, but the victim died in the worker's arms. After the incident, police informed the worker that he had witnessed a gang shooting. The incident caused the man to suffer from PTSD and he provided his employer with a doctor's note. The note recommended that the worker be transferred to a different route in order to prevent his PTSD symptoms from worsening.

Additionally, the worker requested to be transferred to a different route because he feared for his safety. He had been informed by other UPS drivers that gang members in the area had been asking about his identity.

When UPS failed to accommodate the worker's needs, the man took a disability leave. Eventually, the man had to take a lower-paying job because UPS refused to transfer him to a different route.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Grisly Employment Complaint Against UPS," Matt Reynolds, June 7, 2012