A Clarion Voice on ADA Accommodation

October 1, 2012 – In The News
Human Resources Executive

James Matthews commented on the recent U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit decision that reversed the dismissal of a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against United Airlines Inc.

The court agreed with the EEOC that employers should provide employees with disabilities to vacant positions for which they are qualified as long as they do not cause undue hardship to the employer.

Matthews said employers who face such a lawsuit are not going to be able to defend themselves in making the undue hardship claims simply by pointing to a neutral policy or rule that it has used over the years. For example, a seniority system, would be a neutral system.

"If you are engaged with an employee with disabilities who suggests a reasonable accommodation and you don't want to do it because you have a rule or neutral system in place, you have to stop and ask what real harm would it do if I go against your policy," he says.

"If you focus on making the best business decision possible by analyzing the complete and accurate facts of any situation, then EEOC issues will take care of themselves," Matthews says.

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