NU Online News Service, March 4, 11:03 a.m. – The U.S. Supreme Court is now mulling a dispute over an employer’s right to reject a disabled person for a job that might endanger the worker’s life or health.
The court heard oral arguments last week week in the case of Chevron v. Echazabal, which focused on whether a section of the Americans With Disabilities Act, which deals with protecting the safety of the entire workforce, would apply to one person who accepts the risk involved with making a job-related decision.
The worker in the case, Mario Echazabal was diagnosed as having a liver disease during a pre-employment physical exam by Chevron Corp., San Francisco, for a position at one of the company’s refineries.
Chevron determined that Echazabal’s liver might be further damaged by exposure to certain chemicals at the refinery, and thus denied him the job.
Echazabal sued Chevron under ADA, charging that he was the victim of discrimination based on a disability.
The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled in favor of Chevron, but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed.
Chevron argued that it reasonably concluded that Echazabal would face a direct threat to his own health if he worked at the refinery.
Chevron cited an ADA provision, which says that employers may require that an employee not pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others in the workplace.