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UPS accused of bias in vision-related cases

The United Parcel Service says two eyes are safer than one. The government says that's discrimination.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the delivery company Thursday, accusing it of illegally denying jobs as drivers and mechanics to workers who lack vision in one eye but can still drive safely.

EEOC attorneys said it was the agency's first nationwide class-action suit filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

It accused the company of violating the ADA by barring vision-impaired drivers without taking into account individual safety records.

"Under the ADA, stereotypical notions about what is or is not safe for a disabled employee to do have no place in the workplace," said the EEOC's Susan McDuffie.

The Atlanta-based company said the suit was baseless. "UPS believes this is a safety issue, not a disability issue," the company said.

Citing a 60-year-old federal ban on "monocular" or one-eyed vision drivers of trucks over 10,000 pounds, UPS said it has "adopted that safety standard for all our vehicles."

The company also said it was "a strong proponent of the ADA" and employs monocular people "where this does not present a safety concern."

The ADA prohibits job discrimination against disabled people who are able to work, and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations.

One-eyed drivers can get state driver's licenses and are allowed by federal transportation regulations to drive trucks weighing up to 10,000 pounds.