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ADA requires reassignment as a reasonable accommodation for disabled employees

7th Circuit reverses its own precedent in EEOC v. United Airlines

The 7th Circuit reversed its own precedent on reassignment as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in its Sept. 7 ruling in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) v. United Airlines Inc. It found that the ADA requires that employers reassign employees who can no longer perform the functions of their jobs due to disability to other positions. 

This decision overrules both EEOC v. Humiston-Keeling—a 2000 7th Circuit decision finding that although reassignment was a possible accommodation, the ADA did not require it—and the 7th Circuit’s previous ruling in United Airlines in March.

“Undue” Uncertainty

So now, if an employee is no longer able to perform her job functions due to a disability, and there is a vacant position within the company for which she is qualified, the employer is required to assign her to the position, unless such an accommodation would prove an “undue hardship” to the employer.

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