Rector v. Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, No. 09AP-812 (Ohio Ct. App. 05/13/10).
Ruling: The Ohio Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of an employee's disability discrimination suit against her employer. The employee's accommodation request was not reasonable because she could not fulfill the requirements of the position she sought. Further, a lateral transfer would have created an undue hardship by causing the employer to violate the terms of a collective bargaining agreement.
it means: An employee's request to be placed in a job she has not proven she can perform is not reasonable. If an accommodation request creates an undue hardship for the employer, such as where it would violate the contractual rights of other employees, the employer does not violate disability discrimination laws by denying it.
Summary: An accountant examiner, who had no vision in one eye, performed various duties, including data entry, when she first began working for the employer. Over time, her duties evolved into performing only computer-based data entry. She complained that her modified duties caused neck pain, fatigue and headaches. She sought more diversified duties as an accommodation. The employer told her it could not change her duties and that no vacant positions were available. Several months later, she applied for a similar position in another department involving less data entry. The employer placed another worker in the job. The employee sued, claiming that the employer failed to reasonably accommodate her disability. The Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of her suit, finding that she failed to establish she could perform the new job. Further, the transfer would have violated a collective bargaining agreement, creating an undue hardship for the employer.
The collective bargaining agreement that governed the filling of vacancies required that the employer promote an employee before filling an opening with a lateral transfer. The employee placed in the position held a lesser position at a lower pay grade. As a result, placing the employee in the position would have infringed upon the promoted worker's collective bargaining rights, thereby placing an undue hardship on the employer.
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August 16, 2010
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