Huber v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Timothy M McDonald
Webster University: HRMG 5700 QA Spring II, 2015
Huber v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Case Summary
Pam Huber sustained a permanent injury that would not allow her to perform the essential functions of her position as an order filler. Huber asked for a reasonable accommodation in the form of taking a vacant position as a router. Both Huber and Wal-Mart agreed that the position was vacant and equivalent. Wal-Mart did not automatically assign Huber to the position instead allowing her to compete for the position within Wal-Mart’s bet qualified employee for the position policy. Ultimately Wal-Mart chose a different candidate for the router position and Huber was assigned a different position at a different facility for considerably less wage per hour. Huber filed suit under the American with Disability Act (ADA), claiming that Wal-Mart should have automatically give her the router position as part of a reasonable accommodation. (Twomey, 2013). The courts found that although a prima facie case was present the plaintiff was able to provide "'legitimate, non-discriminatory reason” (VersusLaw, 2007) Johnson, who made the hiring decision, decided to hire Cruikshank because of her personal qualities, which included an excellent overall performance record, "a very positive can-do attitude," that she was a "team player," and because she demonstrated initiative and seemed able to handle new responsibilities. Johnson preferred Cruikshank to plaintiff because plaintiff was not as able to work independently, and he wanted "the candidate who best demonstrated the ability to make these decisions on her own without requiring large amounts of guidance from me. Age, Johnson claims, was not a consideration in his hiring decision. (VersusLaw, 2007)
Case Question 1
Pam Huber sustained a permanent injury while working for Wal-Mart and could no longer perform her order filler job. The parties agreed that she was qualified for the vacant router position, possessing the required skill, education, experience, and training. The ADA requires reasonable accommodation, including “reassignment to vacant position.” Do you believe the quoted reassignment language means something more than allowing her to compete equally with all other candidates for this vacant position? Explain. (Twomey, 2013) Well the courts are split on this issue, and this particular case was ultimately settled out of court, but we see the Tenth Circuit sating that to allow someone to imply apply to an open position just like anyone without an accommodation seems out of place with the law. Why then is the law needed. The Tenth Circuit in Smith v. Midland Brake, Inc., 180 F.3d 1154, 1164-65 (10th Cir.1999) (en banc), stated: [I]f the reassignment language merely requires employers to consider on an equal basis with all other applicants an otherwise qualified existing employee with a disability for reassignment to a vacant position, that language would add nothing to the obligation not to discriminate, and would thereby be redundant․ Thus, the reassignment obligation must mean something more than merely allowing a disabled person to compete equally with the rest of the world for a vacant position. (Thomson Reuters, 2007) The Eighth district court stated in Huber that Wal-Mart was not required to do more than allow her to apply to an open position, allowing the most qualified person to be placed in the open position regardless of any accommodation needed. I believe that as an accommodation Huber was qualified and should have been placed. The attitude and abilities to accomplish work on her own are performance issues and should be dealt with in that manner. The language of allow the accommodated person to apply for open positions just like anyone else seems like a big fat nothing, big woo you can apply just like anyone else. Why bother.
Case Question 2
Comment on the court’s statement “Wal-Mart reasonably accommodated...
Bibliography: Thomson Reuters. (2007, May 30). Huber v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. . Retrieved from FindLaw: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-8th-circuit/1289819.html
Twomey, D. P. (2013). Procedures and Remedies. In Labor & Employment Law: Text & Cases ( Fifteenth ed.). Mason, Ohio: Soth-Western; Cengage Learning.
VersusLaw. (2007, Febuary 28). Zippittelli v. J.C. Penney Co. . Retrieved from Find A Case: http://pa.findacase.com/research/wfrmDocViewer.aspx/xq/fac.20070228_0000245.MPA.htm/qx
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