Ruling Ups Employers' Duty To Reassign Disabled Workers

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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