Employers may be required to reassign employees with disabilities to a vacant position in the organisation if they can no longer be accommodated by their current position, according to the reversal of court ruling on the interpretation of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
This comes as the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit overturns the previous dismissal of a case bought by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against airline United Airlines.
The EEOC claimed in the lawsuit originally filed in June 2009 in California that United violated the ADA by forcing employees with disabilities to compete for jobs via the company’s website rather than placing them into vacant roles, on many occasions causing them to cease employment.
According to a statement on the EEOC website, the court found that "the ADA does indeed mandate that an employer appoint employees with disabilities to vacant positions for which they are qualified, provided that such accommodations would be ordinarily reasonable and would not present an undue hardship to the employer”.
EEOC general counsel David Lopez says: "The Court's decision will have far-reaching benefits for individuals with disabilities who strive for economic independence and want to work.”