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Layoffs and union contracts: When seniority collides with disability, seniority prevails

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in Firing,Human Resources

When conducting layoffs, some employers give preference to more experienced workers, letting them keep their jobs while less senior workers must go. That’s usually no problem. However, disabled employees who get bumped may claim they should have been given preference, keeping their jobs as a reasonable accommodation.

In such cases, a court said, the seniority rules take precedence.

Recent case: Adriana had been a janitor for years before transferring to a mailroom position.

While working in the mailroom, she developed several disabilities, including rheumatoid arthritis and anxiety. These conditions required a reasonable accommodation of not standing more than 30 minutes, plus other physical restrictions.

Her accommodation requests were approved.

Eventually, Adriana’s employer needed to lay off about 45 people. A union contract allowed employees with seniority to bump less-senior workers out of their jobs if the bum...(register to read more)

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