A federal appeals court has ruled that the federal government can’t mandate that employees purchase a wheelchair, even if that means the federal workers have to drive a two-wheeler to work.
The decision is the latest in a string of decisions that the court has struck down.
The case arose from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) decision in February 2015 that it was illegal for employers to require employees to purchase a disability-related device like a wheelchair.
The agency cited an 1881 Supreme Court case, U.S. v.
Hays, that said a requirement that an employee buy a disability device could result in the employees losing their jobs.
OSHA argued that the disability devices were essential and would be needed for the agency to function properly.
The judge in the case ruled that there is no evidence that the agency’s position was unlawful, as it was only intended to prevent the employees from taking personal risks or making personal decisions, according to the AP.
The ruling has left many employers scrambling to find a way to accommodate workers who have disabilities.
Some employers are looking to find out how much they will have to pay for the devices, as the devices can add more than $20,000 to the cost of a worker’s disability insurance premiums.
The AP reports that several states have banned the use of the devices.
A spokesman for the National Association of Manufacturers, which represents nearly 3,000 companies, said he would continue to fight the federal agency in court.
“While we applaud the agency for pursuing a reasonable solution to the challenge, we will continue to work with OSHA to determine how to protect our workers,” David M. Kostner, the group’s vice president of government relations, told the AP in a statement.