Job Reassignment As A Reasonable Accommodation Under Disability Discrimination Law

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employment discrimination because of an actual or perceived disability.  One of the ADA’s requirements mandates that employers  reasonably accommodate individuals with
disabilities.  A reasonable accommodation is not required if if would  unless cause the employer undue hardship.  One type of reasonable accommodation is job reassignment to a vacant position.

As with any accommodation request under the ADA, employees requesting reassignment must initially establish that they are an “individual with a disability” as that term is defined by federal law.  Then, if a disability is established, job reassignment must be a reasonable accommodation.  It not always is.   Job reassignment is a necessary disability accommodation only if the employer has available a vacant equivalent position for which the disabled employee is qualified.  The employee seeking reassignment must have the requisite skill, experience, education, meet other job-related requirements of the position, and be able to perform the essential
functions of the new position with or without reasonable accommodation.

There are other limits to job reassignment as a disability accommodation.  Employers do not need to move employees out of existing positions to accommodate a disability.  Nor do they need to create a new job for disabled employees seeking reassignment.  Further, the proposed reassignment need only be roughly equivalent to the employee’s current position in terms of pay, status, benefits, or location.  The ADA doesn’t mandate that employers give disabled employees a higher-level position than the one they currently hold.

Disability discrimination cases require legal analysis of federal statutes, U.S. Department of Labor regulations, and court decisions.  I can help you with any employment law or labor law questions that you might have.  Please feel free to contact me for a free initial consultation about employment law or labor law.


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