Supreme Court Denies United Airlines Petition in Disability Discrimination Case

  27 July 2016

In a closely watched case, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a written order denying  United Airlines’s petition for review of a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). 

This means the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal's September 7, 2012 decision will stand, holding that "reasonable accommodation" under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may require employers to provide employees with disabilities with "reassignment to a vacant position" when the employee cannot be accommodated in his or her current position.  The EEOC's lawsuit charged that United violated the ADA by requiring workers with disabilities to compete for vacant positions for which they were qualified and which they needed in order to continue working.  The company's practice frequently prevented employees with disabilities from continuing their employment with the company. The Seventh Circuit reversed the dismissal of the EEOC's disability discrimination lawsuit and found that "the ADA does indeed mandate that an employer appoint employees with disabilities to vacant positions for which they are qualified, provided that such accommodations would be ordinarily reasonable and would not present an undue hardship to the employer." Read More.