Court Finds no Reasonable Accommodations in Rotating Assignment Position

June 13, 2008 ( - The 7th U.S. Court of Appeals has denied a correctional officer's Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claim because he was unable to prove he was qualified to perform the essential functions of any position.

After suffering a stroke, Liutauras Dargis, a correctional officer with the Cook County, Illinois, Sheriff’s Office, was approved to return to work by his doctor with a number of conditions, including that he was not to have any contact with inmates. The sheriff’s office refused to reinstate Dargis to his position, claiming there was no position within the classification that did not involve the potential for physical contact with inmates.

Though Dargis named several functions for which he believed he was qualified, the court noted that because these positions required officers to be assigned a firearm, there was potential for inmate contact. In addition, all correctional officers could be called on to respond to prison riots or escapes, and they were required to rotate through various positions as needed, often as a result of unforeseen events.

The court also said, even if one of the positions Dargis named could guarantee no physical contact with inmates, he had not shown there was a vacancy within one of these positions.

The opinion in Dargis v. Sheahan is here .