Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status

Albertson's, Inc. v. Kirkingburg

527 U.S. 555 (1999)

Case BriefRelatedOptions
From our private database of 33,800+ case briefs...

Albertson’s, Inc. v. Kirkingburg

United States Supreme Court

527 U.S. 555 (1999)


In August 1990, interstate grocery-store chain Albertson’s, Inc. (Albertson’s) (defendant) hired Hallie Kirkingburg (plaintiff) to work as a commercial truck driver. Kirkingburg had 10 years of relevant experience and successfully completed a road test for one of Albertson’s transportation supervisors. Albertson’s required its drivers to meet basic vision standards set and mandated by the United States Department of Transportation (DoT) for interstate commercial truck drivers. Kirkingburg suffered from an uncorrectable vision condition in one eye. Nonetheless, a doctor erroneously concluded that Kirkingburg met the DoT’s basic standard, and Kirkingburg began working for Albertson’s. The following year, Kirkingburg sustained an injury and took a leave of absence. In December 1992, before Kirkingburg returned to work, Albertson’s again required that he undergo a physical examination to ensure he met the basic DoT vision standards. This time, a doctor correctly found that he did not. In July 1992, the DoT had begun an experimental waiver scheme for which commercial truck drivers who otherwise failed the agency’s vision standards could apply if they satisfied certain criteria, such as clean driving records for a specified period of time. Kirkingburg applied for the waiver, but Albertson’s fired him, because he didn’t meet the DoT’s basic vision standard. After Kirkingburg left, he was granted a DoT waiver, but Albertson’s declined to rehire him. Kirkingburg sued Albertson’s under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., alleging unlawful disability discrimination. The court of appeals held that because the DoT had begun granting waivers to its basic visual acuity standard, Albertson’s had to do more than just rely on the objective standard itself in making employment decisions; it had to engage in a more searching inquiry about the availability of a reasonable accommodation to justify a refusal to hire or rehire a particular employee. Albertson’s sought review by the United States Supreme Court, which was granted.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Souter, J.)

Concurrence (Thomas, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 604,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.

    Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.

    Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee

Here's why 604,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 33,800 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership
Here's why 604,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet
  • 33,800 briefs - keyed to 984 casebooks
  • Uniform format for every case brief
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions
  • Top-notch customer support

Access this case brief for FREE

With a 7-day free trial membership