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EEOC v. United Airlines Inc. (7th Cir. 2012)

Articles Discussing Case:

Seventh Circuit Alters the ADA Landscape by Reversing Its Precedent on Job Reassignment

Phelps Dunbar LLP • September 18, 2012
In EEOC v. United Airlines, Inc., No. 11-1774, 2012 WL 3871503 (7th Cir. Sept. 7, 2012), the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") requires as a reasonable accommodation that employers reassign disabled employees to vacant positions for which they are at least minimally qualified, absent a particularized showing of undue hardship. In doing so, the court overruled its prior decision in EEOC v. Humiston-Keeling, 227 F.3d 1024 (7th Cir. 2000), which held that an employer was not required to reassign a disabled employee to a vacant position for which there was a better candidate, provided that the employer had a "consistent and honest policy" of hiring the best candidate for the job.

Seventh Circuit Does an About Face: ADA Now Requires the Assignment of Disabled Employees to a Vacant Position as a Reasonable Accommodation September 11, 2012

Franczek Radelet P.C • September 12, 2012
accommodate a disabled employee did not extend to reassigning the employee to a vacant position if a more qualified candidate had applied. Rather, an employer satisfied its duty to accommodate by allowing the disabled employee to apply for a vacant position for which he or she was qualified; however, the employer had no duty to award the position to the disabled employee if he or she was not the most qualified candidate.

For Now, the Seventh Circuit Continues to Hold that the ADA Does Not Require Automatic Assignment to a Vacant Position as a Reasonable Accommodation, But This Could Change Soon

Franczek Radelet P.C • March 15, 2012
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) generally requires an employer to make a reasonable accommodation for a qualified applicant or employee’s physical or mental limitations unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would pose an undue hardship on its operations. The focus of the inquiry under the ADA often turns on whether an employer offered a reasonable accommodation, especially because the 2008 Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act significantly lowered the threshold for the kinds of conditions that qualify as covered disabilities.