Doe v The Salvation Army
The Ohio Legal Rights Service (LRS) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio Eastern Division on behalf of a person arguing employment discrimination under the Rehabilitation Act. This case involves a person with a disability who applied for a job at a warehouse of the Salvation Army. He was rejected during his initial job interview because he gave an honest answer to an illegal question about what kind of medications he was taking. LRS filed an appeal in March 2011 after the district court decided that the person was not entitled to the protections of the employment provisions of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and granted summary judgment to the Salvation Army on the basis that it was a religious organization and therefore could not be principally engaged in the business of providing social services. LRS argued that because the Salvation Army's mission is dedicated to providing a wide array of social services to people in need, it is covered by the Rehabilitation Act.
In July 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed the district court's decision of granting summary judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings on the Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act claim of employment discrimination. At issue was whether the Salvation Army meets the definition of a corporation that is "principally engaged in the business of providing social services," which would bring it within the coverage of Rehabilitation Act. The Court concluded that the lower court's decision for summary judgment was inappropriate because a genuine issue of material fact does exist regarding whether the Salvation Army principally engages in the business of providing social services.
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