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GREENE v. UNION PAC. R.R. CO.

November 30, 1981

Richard GREENE, Plaintiff,
v.
UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD CO., Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: VOORHEES

 VOORHEES, District Judge.

 From the credible evidence in this cause, the Court now renders the following decision.

 The defendant in this cause is a common carrier operating in thirteen different states with thousands of employees in hundreds of different job categories.

 All prospective employees, other than extra-gang laborers, are required to take and pass a physical examination as a condition to employment. Because many of the job categories are quite physically demanding, I find that, at least as to the physically-demanding job categories, the requirement of pre-employment physical examinations is justified by business necessity.

 The defendant utilizes many different physicians in many different states to perform the required physical examinations. It is simply not possible for each of these physicians to become personally familiar with the physical requirements for each job category nor to know from personal experience those factors which would disqualify an individual for employment by defendant in a particular job category.

 I find in consequence that it was reasonable for a defendant, through its medical director, to promulgate system-wide medical standards for those seeking employment with defendant and for those employees of defendant seeking transfer from one job category to another. I find that the medical director of the defendant did make a conscientious effort to formulate a set of job-related physical standards to be used by the defendant's examining physicians. Those standards were promulgated in defendant's revised Form 2501 "Physical Examination Rules". I find that the requirements set forth in that Form 2501 were intended by defendant to be, and that they were in fact, bona fide occupational qualifications. Those standards were established after a careful and extensive study by defendant's then-medical director, and the standards for each job category did bear a reasonable and necessary relationship to the work requirements of the job category in question and were in fact justified by business necessity. I find that these standards did not have a disparate impact upon a protected class.

 I find that it was to the advantage of those seeking employment with defendant and of those seeking a transfer within the company for the defendant to have a uniform system-wide set of physical standards to guide the examining physicians rather than to leave to the unguided discretion of those physicians the determination as to whether a particular person was or was not physically qualified to perform the work of the job category in which he sought employment.

 The use of such physical standards for the purpose of screening applicants for employment or for transfer is legal under Rose v. Hanna Mining Company, 94 Wash.2d 307, 616 P.2d 1229 (1980).

 I find that the defendant rejected plaintiff's application for transfer into the management trainee program not because he was overweight but rather because he did not have in his background the education and the experience which defendant was at that time seeking in those whom it wished to place in its management training program.

 I find that the defendant did not grant plaintiff's request for transfer to the fireman job category by reason of a combination of three factors relating to his physical condition:

 
1. He was very much overweight.
 
2. His blood pressure was borderline hypertensive.
 
3. He had advanced osteoarthritis of ...

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