In a case involving a San Antonio plaintiff, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has ruled that employees can sue independent government contractors for discrimination under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Attorney Tiffany Cox of Ogletree Deakins in San Antonio says the decision, though in line with two other federal appeals courts, is part of a split because the Eighth Circuit has ruled the opposite.
“The Ninth and Tenth circuits have held that the Rehabilitation Act does not incorporate the (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirement that any plaintiff (must) be an employee of the defendant, and the Fifth Circuit followed their reasoning in deciding the Flynn case,” Cox said.
“Thus, companies doing business in those jurisdictions must pay close attention. The Eighth Circuit, on the other hand, reached the opposite conclusion and determined that the Rehabilitation Act requires the existence of an employer-employee relationship. The Supreme Court has yet to resolve the split.”