In Bates v. United Parcel Service, Inc., the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that a plaintiff challenging a categorical safety-based "qualification standard" under the Americans with Disabilities Act does not have the burden of establishing that she could perform the essential function of generally performing the job "safely." The plaintiff is instead merely required to show that she is "qualified" in the sense that she has satisfied all prerequisites for the position, including any safety-related prerequisites not connected with the challenged criterion. The burden will then shift to the defendant to establish that the challenged qualification standard was job-related and consistent with business necessity. This was an issue of first impression in the Ninth Circuit, though the resolution was forecast by Morton v. United Parcel Service, Inc., a case with "strikingly similar" facts.
An Employer's Use of Federal Safety Standards to Exclude Individuals with Disabilities: Bates v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 37 Golden Gate U. L. Rev.