The Labor & Employment Blog is a forum for practitioners and Bloomberg BNA editors to share ideas, raise issues, and network with colleagues.
Friday, September 21, 2012
by Patrick Dorrian
The always active Equal Employment Opportunity Commission dominated EEO developments over the past two weeks, with the turn of events it managed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit leading the way.
In EEOC v. United Airlines Inc., the Seventh Circuit held, on panel rehearing, that the Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to reassign employees unable to perform their current jobs because of disability to vacant positions for which they are qualified, provided such an accommodation typically would be reasonable under the circumstances and would not impose an undue hardship on the employer.
Not only was the opinion a reversal of the appeals panel's earlier, March 2012 opinion in the case, it also overturned circuit precedent established in and followed since 2000. The panel said the 2000 decision--EEOC v. Humiston-Keeling--erred in suggesting that it always presents a hardship for an employer to break from "a best-qualified selection policy" in filling jobs in order to accommodate a disabled worker.
To the contrary, preferences favoring disabled workers sometimes are necessary to achieve the ADA's "basic equal opportunity goal," the court said in the new opinion.
The court found support for its view in decisions by the Tenth and District of Columbia circuits. The Eighth Circuit has held that the ADA does not require preferential reassignment of disabled employees to vacant positions.
In other EEOC news:
Capping this busy period, the commission within the past few days also:
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