In EEOC v. United Airlines, Inc., 11-cv-1774, the EEOC alleged, and the Seventh Circuit agreed, that United Airlines violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to immediately assign disabled employees who required reasonable accommodations to vacant positions as long as they are qualified for those positions and that placing the employees in such positions did not present an undue hardship to the employer.
The EEOC, with this successful appeal, has placed a large company on notice that employees, even the most vulnerable employees, have substantive rights. The ADA provides all disabled employees with the right to seek reasonable accommodations for their disability within the workplace as long as those accommodations do not present an undue hardship to the employer and are reasonable. The immediacy of those accommodations have been clarified and now employees in all industries can better assert their rights under the ADA.
If you are an employee that is concerned about enforcing your rights in the workplace, contact an employment law attorney immediately to discuss your options. Employees need to be proactive and also contact the EEOC to file a discrimination charge within 180 days from the date of the adverse employment action to maintain their ability to sue.
Employers similarly need to contact an employment law attorney to discuss how this and other recent rulings change their compliance methods to ensure that valuable overhead is preserved for items that benefit their bottom line. Prevention is a far superior strategy than reaction and it allows the company to focus on more important things, including employee productivity.