Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Big D.C. Circuit Win for Foreign Service Candidate with HIV

I'm too tired to blog more about this right now, but on Tuesday a conservative panel of the D.C. Circuit surprisingly (but, happily) issued a ruling in favor of an individual who had been turned down for a job as a foreign service officer because he had HIV. The officer sued under the Rehabilitation Act, but the district court granted summary judgment. The district court concluded that given the state of medical care in lots of countries, the plaintiff would not be available for worldwide posting. The court also concluded that "worldwide availability" was an essential function of the job of foreign service officer, and that it would not be a reasonable accommodation to permit the plaintiff to use his leave to travel to countries with more developed medical systems for physician's appointments. The D.C. Circuit reversed. The court concluded that there were disputed issues of fact regarding whether worldwide availability is indeed an essential function of the foreign service job and whether the leave accommodation would be unreasonable. Accordingly, the court kept the plaintiff's case alive and remanded for further proceedings. This is a good win for the plaintiff, who was represented by Lambda Legal -- and it's a particularly surprising one given the panel.

1 Comments:

Blogger Daniel said...

I didn't think it so unusual; even conservatives can add 2+2 and get 4. The government hung itself. They are already accomodating current employees with HIV, so it simply made no logical sense to claim they couldn't accomodate new hires. Or at least they needed to make some case. I thought that the trial judge was way off base here and I wasn't at all suprised at the ruling.

Having said that, I want to see what the government does next. Given the circut, the government probably will dream up some farfetched reason to discriminate and the appeals court will accept that. Conservatives usually don't need a sound reason but they normally want some reason; it allows them to think of themselves as intellectuals.

10:37 PM  

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