Employment-Seventh Circuit Reverses Itself, And Now Rules That The Assignment Of A Disabled Employee To An Open Position Is A Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA

In EEOC v. United Airlines Inc., the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that, for purposes of the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”), a reasonable accommodation does not include the assignment of a disabled employee to an open position. However, following a poll of all Seventh Circuit judges, the Seventh Circuit decided to reverse its decision, and to issue a new decision, found here.

In the new decision, the Court said the following on the reasonable accommodation issue: 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 that employer. We remand with instructions that the district court determine if mandatory reassignment would be reasonable in the run of cases and if there are fact-specific considerations particular to United’s employment system that would render mandatory reassignment unreasonable in this case.