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UPS denies worker’s claim in a lawsuit that he faced demotion due to a brain condition

UPS officials on Thursday said they will “vigorously defend” the company against a Charlotte area worker’s claim in a lawsuit that he faced a demotion or termination after developing a brain condition.

In a statement to The Charlotte Observer, a UPS spokesman said the worker “is not providing all of the relevant facts regarding his case. UPS went above and beyond what is normally required by the (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990), and will vigorously defend our actions.”

Patrick Amanuel of Monroe said in his federal lawsuit that he had recently been promoted to full-time automotive maintenance supervisor in summer 2017 when he told company officials he was having trouble memorizing the UPS preventative maintenance inspection manual. The company requires workers to memorize the manual, he said.

Amanuel was tested and treated for mild cognitive impairment, according to his lawsuit, filed July 18 in U.S. District Court by his lawyer, Walter Bowers Jr. of Charlotte.

The condition can cause “problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment that are greater than normal age-related changes,” according to MayoClinic.org.

Amanuel was told to accept a part-time job with no benefits and half his salary or be fired, he said in his lawsuit. He worked for Atlanta-based United Parcel Service since 2002.

Despite his condition, Amanuel said in the lawsuit, he always performed his job “at a high level using the manual as a guide” until he was told that using the manual violated company policy.

“As a reasonable accommodation request” under the (ADA), he asked to no avail “to use the manual while working or (be given) more time to attend training,” according to the lawsuit.

Although Amanuel also was told he was eligible for full-time work elsewhere in the company, “he had never been given an opportunity to do so,” according to his complaint. Amanuel wants a jury to award him back pay and at least $225,000 in damages.

He said in his lawsuit that he was discriminated against based on a disability, which UPS strongly disputed in Thursday’s statement.

“UPS takes pride in providing an inclusive work environment and working closely with our employees to make reasonable accommodations for their personal needs,” read the statement from Matthew O’Connor, UPS senior manager, public relations. “We also have a strong culture of fostering long-term employment with the company, which includes extensive training to help our employees attain their career goals.”

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Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. He currently reports on breaking news.
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