Job transfer denial and violation of reasonable accommodation

It is no secret that Federal agencies are required by law to provide reasonable accommodation to employees with certain disabilities. Most people may not know the laws enacted to protect employees in the event that another position opens up within their place of employment that could better accommodate them. An employee in Wisconsin is entitled to reassignment as a reasonable accommodation if there is an open position for which the employee is qualified and if granting the job transfer would not disrupt the employer’s seniority system.

Recently, one employer has been accused of blocking an employee’s transfer. As a result, the employee, a PNC banker, has initiated a court case. The employee has Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and struggles to stay on top of her workload.

When a less demanding position became available for which the employee was qualified, she placed a requisition for transfer. She applied for the position for consideration, but was not chosen for the transfer. The employee sued, alleging violation of the ADA due to the fact that she was qualified for the position, and the case will soon proceed to trial.

The employer may be innocent of the violation if they are able to prove that the position transfer would inflict undue hardship upon the agency. In Wisconsin, if the employee satisfies the prerequisites for the open job and can perform its essential functions, with or without accommodation, they are considered to be qualified for the position. When an employee is unlawfully denied reasonable accommodation, there may be grounds for a lawsuit. Protecting individual rights and taking action to stand up to an employer’s failure to act in good faith can sometimes achieve a more beneficial outcome.

Source:, Don’t block transfer as reasonable accommodation, No author, Dec. 27, 2013


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