Is Telecommuting Considered An Accommodation Under The Americans With Disabilities Act?

With the proliferation of technology making in possible is many situations to telecommute, disabled workers may wonder if a request to work remotely should be considered a “reasonable accommodation” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). According to several cases, whether an employer must grant a request to telecommute should be based on a fact-specific inquiry that considers the company’s teleworking history for nondisabled employees with similar job requirements and responsibilities. Further, although it an employer may not need to “automatically grant a request to work at home,” it should assess the unique facts and circumstances of each case.”

The ADA prohibits discrimination based on The ADA prohibits discrimination against “qualified individuals with a disability” in the terms and conditions of employment. One of the protections provided by the ADA is by requiring your employer make an effort to reasonably accommodate your disability, if you are considered “a qualified individual with a disability.” If you have questions concerning whether you are covered by the ADA, it’s a good idea to consult with a knowledgeable Atlanta discrimination attorney right away.

If, despite your disability, you are able to do your job, either with no accommodation at all, or with a reasonable accommodation, your employer must accommodate you. An accommodation can be something as simple as changing your starting time a few minutes, giving you a telephone amplifier if you’re hard of hearing, or changing your workspace if it exacerbates your medical condition. If your employer refuses to accommodate you, in most cases you can file an ADA discrimination charge. Your employer, however, is not required to accommodate you if your requested accommodation would be too expensive or burdensome, or if your medical condition poses a serious risk of harm to you or someone else in your workplace.

In Bixby v. JP Morgan Chase Bank NA, a recent case involving the issue of telecommuting as a reasonable accommodation, an employee with who had panic attacks and other mental disorders was not allowed by the employer to work from home on a temporary basis.

The employer did not allow the worker to telecommute. The court found that because other employee had been allowed to work remotely, whether telecommuting in this instance could be considered a “reasonable accommodation” was best left to a jury to decide.

The bottom line – although it is not always required that employers allow employees to work from home as reasonable accommodation, a number of considerations employers need to take into account, such as if nondisabled employees are allowed to telecommute and any existing company policies or procedures regarding remote work.

For more information or if you believe you may have suffered disability discrimination, please contact the experienced Georgia disability discrimination lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.