US Airways Inc v Barnett Case Study

Document Type:Case Study

Subject Area:Law

Document 1

He is a former employee of US Airways, Inc (US Air). US Air is the appellant in the current case, however, in the original suit, it was the defendant. The case was argued on Dec 4, 2001, and decides on April 29, 2002. Barnett injured his back while in the line of duty and he shifted to a less demanding mailroom position. Later on, his position becomes open to seniority-based employee bidding under his employer's seniority system; it thus attracted the interest of other seniors who planned to apply for the position. § 12101 et seq. Issue(s): The legal issues that arose, in this case, are Whether seniority rules unilaterally imposed by US Air requires a different defense than those established via Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) The Court of Appeal concluded that there was a triable issue of fact precluding the entry of summary judgment with respect to whether US Air violated the ADA by failing to engage in an interactive process concerning the three proposed accommodation requests of Barnett.

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Whether the seniority system prevents the position of mailroom from being vacant Decision: The court, by a majority of 5 to 4, overturned the Court of Appeal Ruling and requested to have a further review. The court pointed out that each case should be treated on merit, on an individual basis. The employee is not supposed to show special circumstances that would make exemptions reasonable. This assertion was supported by the decision of the court in Firefighters v. Stotts, (1984) the judges went on to point out that to require the typical workers to demonstrate that more than seniority system might well undermine the expectation of consistent and uniform treatment of the employees. Answering the question of whether ADA requires an employer to assign employees living with disability a particular position even though there are other staffs entitled to the same position due to the seniority system, the court answered on negative.

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As such, it vacated the decision of the Court of Appeal and submitted the case for further proceeding. Justice O'Connor, on his part, said that in order to determine whether seniority system on the reasonableness of a reassignment as an accommodation for purpose of the Act depends whether the seniority system is legally enforceable. , (2000), he opines that Court of Appeals has addressed the issue and has assumed the Act does not mandate exception legitimate, nondiscriminatory policy. Souter, in his dissenting remarks, wonders whether a seniority system must be disregarded in order to accommodate an employee living with disability in a situation where the incorrect interpretation of the Act subject the employer to rules and practices to the requirements of reasonable accommodation.

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Together with Ginsburg, Souter is of the opinion that reassignment to a vacant position is one of the methods an employer can adopt to reasonably accommodate disabled employee under the Act. They point out that nothing in the Act insulates seniority rule from reasonable accommodation requirements of the Act Rule: The rule applied in the case the seniority rule and reasonableness Application: The court, having been faced with the issue of an allegation of discrimination based on disability against the Americans with Disabilities Act, the court had to pronounce itself. The two conflicting principles that were raised in the court were that the seniority rule and reasonable accommodation of a person with a disability in the place of work are not in tandem.

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The court has indicated that the seniority rule surpasses the accommodation of employee due to disability. It is upon the plaintiff to demonstrate that by being accommodated in the job in question does not cause undue hardship to the employer. This, therefore, means that the employer has the discretion to determine whether to accommodate a disabled employee or allocate the position to a nondisabled employee when they bid for the position. References Cases & Statute Americans with Disabilities Act of (1990) Burns v. Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. Midland Brake, Inc. , 180 F. 3d 1154, 1164–1165 (CA10 1999) (en banc) Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Hardison, 432 U. Colker, R. Crippled Justice: The History of Modern Disability Policy in the Workplace. Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, 27(6), 1043-1046. O'brien, R.

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