The ADA, Transfer and Reasonable Accommodation

If you only can read one Court of Appeals decision today, this should be it. In 2000, the Seventh Circuit, which covers states in the upper Midwest such as Illinois, ruled that the ADA did not require an employer to transfer a disabled employee to a vacant position. The impact of the 2000 decision was that disabled applicants had no special advantage in competing for transfers against non-disabled applicants. Last week the Seventh Circuit reversed itself, and found that an employer must transfer a disabled employee to a vacant position unless the transfer would result in undue hardship, and provided that the transfer would be a reasonable accommodation. The Court’s decision is a significant not only because it was a unanimous one, but also because the Seventh Circuit is one of the most influential federal courts in the country. &#8211 Will Aitchison