The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear an appeal from an airline about what accommodations it must make for employees no longer able to perform their current jobs because of a disability.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued United Airlines for failing to make reasonable accommodations for injured workers who were unable to perform their original jobs. The airline’s employee policy stated that injured workers could apply for any and all available vacant jobs but that the process would be a competitive one that does not guarantee the disabled worker the “reasonable accommodations” set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The ADA calls for employees to be automatically reassigned to vacant positions as long as doing so “would not present an undue hardship to that employer.” The Supreme Court’s decision not to review the appeal Tuesday upheld the ruling first made by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, finding that US Airlines cannot prove it contends with “undue hardship” as a result of reassigning disabled workers.
A spokeswoman for United Airlines said the company was “disappointed” and that the ruling “limits employers’ ability to hire the most qualified applicant for a position.”