Is Reassignment A Reasonable Accommodation For A Disability?

There are circumstances in which reassignment  or transfer to another job can be a reasonable accommodation for a disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Typically, reassignment of an employee suffering from a disability is considered only when the employee's disability cannot be accommodated in his or her current position. But the courts have made it clear that reassignment to a vacant position must be at least considered: Burns v. Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc, 222 F3d 247, 257 (6th Cir. 2000)(“[A]n employer has a duty under the ADA to consider transferring a disabled employee who can no longer perform his old job even with accommodation to a new position within the Company for which that employee is otherwise qualified.”); Bratten v. SSI Services, Inc., 185 F.3d 625, 633-34 (6th Cir. 1999)(“[T]he ADA requires an employer to consider re-assignment to a vacant position if the disabled employee cannot be reasonably accommodated in his or her current job.”).

There are a couple of key points here: (1) reassignment is really a last resort and therefore considered typically only after efforts to accommodate teh employee's disability in his or her present job have been exhausted; and, (2) the reassignment would be to a vacant position and the employer is not required to create a position. 

Robert L. Abell, a Lexington, Kentucky disability discrimination lawyer, has represented employees and others in cases under the Americans With Disabilities Act, one example being Christine Snipes v. Kroger Company, which included a claim that Kroger refused to accommodate her disability. You can read the complaint here.

Contact Lexington, Kentucky ADA lawyer Robert Abell at 859-254-7076.