Ninth Circuit: No Duty to Accommodate Unqualified Applicant With Disability

Trish Johnson was a special education teacher. She was required to maintain a teacher certification. To do so, she had to satisfy certain continuing education requirements, including having 3 hours of college credit over a five year period.  Johnson failed to complete the college credit on time and told her bosses she would lose her certification. Her school district could have petitioned the state for an exemption, but declined to do so. Johnson lost her certification and was fired.
She sued under the ADA, claiming the school district had to apply for and obtain the exemption as a form of accommodation of her depression and other mental impairments.
Agreeing with the district court, the Ninth Circuit upheld summary judgment. The court held that a plaintiff under the ADA must establish she is a "qualified individual with a disability" or no accommodation is due.
The court noted EEOC regulations provide "that a 'qualified individual with a disability' is one 'who satisfies the requisite skills, experience, education and other job related requirements of the employment position such individual holds or desires, and who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of such position.” 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(m) (emphasis added).
So, the court reasoned, Johnson was required to hold the "requisite" job related requirements of the job without accommodation. She did not maintain the requisite continuing education requirements and, therefore, lost her certification.
So, by way of example given in the opinion, an employer hiring a CPA can require the CPA to be licensed and need not provide "accommodation" that helps the applicant obtain the license (like tutoring).  A law firm does not have to help a law clerk pass the bar, etc.
The case is Johnson v. Bd. of Trustees and the opinion is here.