Ford lawsuits are not uncommon at all today for a variety of reasons. One recent lawsuit was filed over the design of the Duratec V6 that puts the water pump inside the engine. Recently a Ford lawsuit went to court that alleged the automaker had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it took ten months to reassign a worker with a disability. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in Johnson v. Ford Motor Company that Ford didn’t violate the ADA.
Randona Johnson took five months of medical leave, and during that time, Ford filled his position. Johnson requested reassignment to a vacant position as an accommodation, but it took Ford ten months to offer him a job. Johnson filed suit against Ford, alleging that the company had failed to accommodate his disability.
Summary judgment had been issued in Ford’s favor in district court. Johnson appealed the case, but the appeals court upheld the decision of the lower court. The ADA does consider reassignment an accommodation, but it doesn’t require employers to create new positions. The court also noted that Ford had provided ample evidence that it had no openings and that facilities couldn’t exceed headcount limits set by the finance department.
Johnson offered no evidence to the contrary, so the lower court ruling in the Ford lawsuit stood. HRDive notes that while reassignment is an accommodation, its an accommodation of last resort. It also notes that courts disagree on if transfers are noncompetitive. That means they disagree on if the accommodation candidate should be given the job even if a more qualified candidate is available for the job.