A former sales manager for an automotive parts company lost his ADA claim after being discharged because he was physically unable to perform his job. In McPherson v. O’Reilly Auto, Inc. 8th Cir., No. 06-3846 (7/2/07), the plaintiff claimed that the company had vacant positions and should have assigned him to one of those jobs after his injury.

The Court ruled, however, that the former employee could not specifically identify any vacant positions for which he was qualified and never applied for any such positions. Since there were no jobs consistent with his medical restrictions and qualifications, the employer did not violate the ADA by terminating his employment.

While this case seems to place the burden on the employee to prove the existence of a vacant job for which he was qualified, it may nonetheless be prudent for employers to document the lack of any such jobs before discharging injured or medically unfit employees.