If you can’t do your job because of a disability, your employer must
transfer you to a vacant position you are qualified for, a recent disability
discrimination case determines.
EEOC v. United Airlines Inc., the 7th Circuit
reversed previous case law, concluding that absent a “particularized showing
of undue hardship” the Americans with Disabilities Act requires
employers to reassign disabled workers to vacant positions.
Previously, the 7th circuit had determined that the ADA did not required
employers to transfer disabled workers to open positions if a better candidate
was available, assuming it was the employer’s policy to select the
The change in interpretation is significant, adding another type of “reasonable
accommodation” that may be available to disabled workers.
If you have questions about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or
the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), it’s
a good idea to meet with an experienced
Atlanta disability discrimination lawyer.
Generally, the ADA prohibits discrimination against “qualified individuals
with a disability” in the terms and conditions of employment. Not
all injuries, illnesses or even medically defined disabilities are covered
by the ADA. The ADA projects a specific class of individuals-qualified
individuals with a disability. A qualified individual with a disability
is an individual with any medical, physiological, or psychiatric condition
that substantially limits a major life activity. It’s important
to remember that the ADA/ADAAA covers disabilities that are defined in
legal terms, rather than medical ones. This means that you may be covered
and entitled to protection from federal discrimination laws, even if you
don’t have a traditionally defined medical disability.
In addition to recognized “disabilities” the ADA also protects
you against discrimination based on a perceived disability or stereotype
about a condition (such as HIV or AIDS).
If you meet the first criteria – that you are a qualified individual
with a disability –then the ADA protects you a few different ways.
In addition to prohibiting your employer from discriminating against you,
it also requires that your employer make a “reasonable effort”
to accommodate your disability. Accommodations include things such as
allowing later start times, adjusting your workstation or other reasonably
simple changes that allow you to do your job.
The significance of the recent case is that it adds “transferring
to a vacant position” to the list of reasonable accommodations an
employer may be required to make.
Specifically Judge Richard A. Cudahy determined, “The Supreme Court
has found that accommodation through appointment to a vacant position
is reasonable” under the ADA, “Absent a showing of undue hardship,
an employer must implement such a reassignment policy,” he said.
If your employer refuses to accommodate you, in most cases you can file
an ADA discrimination charge.
For more information about disability discrimination or if you believe
you have been discriminated against based on a disability – including
a failure by your employer to make reasonable accommodations – it
is important that you contact a top
Georgia employment discrimination lawyer right away.