Ruling Ups Employers' Duty To Reassign Disabled Workers

Jan. 13, 2005
It's no longer sufficient just to allow workers who have become disabled to apply for posted job vacancies. In a case involving a hospital worker, the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia has ruled that employers must reassign disabled ...

It's no longer sufficient just to allow workers who have become disabled to apply for posted job vacancies. In a case involving a hospital worker, the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia has ruled that employers must reassign disabled workers to a new position that opens up -- as long as the worker is minimally qualified for the job -- or the employer could be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In essence, says Chirstopher Bell, managing partner of the Minneapolis office of Jackson Lewis Schnitzler & Krupman, the ruling means that employers must actively search for another job within the company for a worker who has become disabled. The ruling implies -- but does not directly state -- that disabled workers should get preference when there is a job opening over better qualified job applicants.

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