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Consider reassignment to open positions as accommodation

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Under the ADA, employers are obligated to make reasonable accommodations. Those accommodations may include transfer to an open position for which the employee is qualified. Failing to do so may attract EEOC attention.

Recent case: Linda Hewett, who has progressive hearing loss, worked as a senior teller for a branch of BB&T Bank. When her hearing got worse, she asked to be reassigned to an open position that didn’t require acute hearing. The bank denied her request, so she quit and went to the EEOC.

The agency sued, and shortly before the case was to go to trial, the bank settled. It paid Hewett $24,000 and promised to train its supervisors on appropriate accommodations. (EEOC v. Branch Banking & Trust, No. 7:06-CV-00071, ED NC, 2010)

Final note: The EEOC is aggressively pursuing employers that don’t make common-sense accommodations.

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