Fourth Circuit Suggests Transfer Is Not Required Reasonable Accommodation


In a brief and non-precedential opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that an employer is “not required to find another job for an employee who is not qualified for the job he…was doing.”

This position, which was set forth in Stansbury v. City of Annapolis, stands in stark contrast to that of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Maryland Court of Appeals, both of which have held that, under the Americans with Disabilities Act and analogous state law, respectively, if an employee is incapable of performing the essential job functions of the original job because of his disabilities, he is entitled to a transfer to an open position as a reasonable accommodation. This transfer, according to the EEOC and the Maryland court, would be on a non-competitive basis, as long as the employee is qualified for the new position, with or without a reasonable accommodation. Other federal circuits are split on the issue.

Although employers in the Fourth Circuit generally may view this as good news, those in Maryland will continue to be bound by the more stringent reasonable accommodation requirements under state law.