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Total Articles: 11

What is a Reasonable Accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act? The City of Philadelphia’s Costly Reminder to Consider Job Transfers as a Reasonable Accommodation.

On July 9, 2012, David Moore filed a Charge with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) (Charge No. 530-2012-02470) alleging that the City of Philadelphia failed to reassign him to a new job as a reasonable accommodation when a heart condition left him unable to perform his current job. Instead, the City of Philadelphia terminated his employment.

Court: Employees Seeking Accommodation Must Compete For Reassignment

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a disabled worker forced to leave her position because of her physical impairment must compete for vacant jobs when seeking reassignment, handing a victory to her former employer. By concluding that employers have no obligation to provide preferential treatment to individuals with disabilities when attempting to accommodate them via reassignment, the court decision runs in direct conflict with various other circuits – and the EEOC – which have ruled otherwise. Unless and until the Supreme Court steps in to resolve the circuit split, employers must be sure to carefully navigate the various standards that exist across the country when accommodating their employees.

Appellate Court Holds that ADA Does Not Require Reassignment Without Competition

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) suffered a setback in its attempt to establish that the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requires an employer to reassign an employee to an available position without having to compete with other candidates for that position. In EEOC v. St. Joseph’s Hospital, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that a Florida District Court correctly interpreted the ADA when it held that there is no mandate for noncompetitive reassignment as an accommodation.

Federal Court Says ADA Does Not Require Reassignment of Employee Without Competition

Executive Summary – If an employee can no longer perform the essential functions of his or her position due to a disability, one common form of reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is reassignment to a vacant position. Last week, in U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. St. Joseph’s Hospital, 2016 WL 7131479 (11th Cir. 2016), the Eleventh Circuit (the federal appeals court over Florida, Georgia and Alabama) rejected a long-standing position of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC) that as long as the disabled employee is qualified for the position the employer must place the employee in the vacant position and cannot require the employee to compete for it.

Reassignment Deemed Mandatory Under the ADA by Seventh Circuit

In EEOC v. United Airlines, the Seventh Circuit overruled a decision from 2000 and held the Americans with Disabilities Act mandates employers appoint disabled employees to vacant positions for which they are qualified, even though they are not the most qualified person for the job.

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

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

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.

Seventh Circuit underscores a circuit split on preferential reassignment of disabled individuals to open positions.

The Federal Circuits currently are split on the issue of whether the ADA requires reassignment of disabled employees to vacant positions when a more qualified candidate exists, with the 10th Circuit and the District of Columbia Circuit holding that the ADA creates preferential treatment for disabled candidates, and the 7th and 8th Circuits holding that while such reassignment may be a reasonable accommodation, the ADA does not obligate employers to reassign a disabled individual if a better qualified applicant exists.

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

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.

ADA’s Interactive Process May Require Plaintiff to Identify Open Position for Transfer.

As defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the term “discriminate” includes an employer’s failure to make reasonable accommodations to the limitations of a disabled employee. Reasonable accommodation may include reassignment to a vacant position within the company. The 10th U.S. Circuit court of Appeals recently held that a disabled employee could not support her failure-to-accommodate claim under the ADA, because she did not present evidence of any specific vacant positions to which she could have been transferred.

Job Reassignment Under ADA Remains Unclear.

While the Supreme Court stands to be quite busy in the next several months deciding important employment law questions, it will not issue a ruling in one of the more widely-anticipated cases that had appeared on its docket this term: Huber v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. This case was to decide the correct standard to apply in ADA cases when an employee seeks a reassignment to a new position as a reasonable accommodation – should that employee merely be afforded the opportunity to compete with other applicants in the normal hiring pool, or should the employer be forced to grant preferential treatment and automatically reassign that employee above more qualified applicants?