Telecommuting is a reasonable accommodation under the ADA

The Americans with Disabilities Act protects people in Louisiana and across the United States with documented disabilities from suffering from workplace discrimination because of their differences. It helps to ensure that disabled individuals receive the same treatment when it comes to hiring, firing, promotion and compensation procedures within a particular company. It also requires workplaces to make reasonable accommodations so that the disabled individual is able to complete his or her job.

Recently, a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that telecommuting -- or working from home -- is a reasonable work accommodation that must be made by employers if the employee's job can be performed at home. In this case, a woman with irritable bowel syndrome was fired after a request to work from home was denied by the company she worked for. In the case, the court ruled that the woman's employer -- Ford Motor Co. -- failed to prove why she couldn't complete the duties of her job from home.

Experts suggest that employers begin to implement policies that allow for telecommuting and to determine if it is possible for a particular job. Then, if a disabled work needs an accommodation that allows them to telecommute, policies are already in place to allow that to happen. Furthermore, employers should know that they cannot request medical information to support a request for an accommodation if they have a policy for telecommuting in place. This could be seen as a violation of the ADA

Once the accommodation is granted, employers need to make sure appropriate efforts are made to make sure disabled workers have what they need to complete their job. Furthermore, efforts need to be made to keep the person as an integrated member of their team.

If Louisiana employees do not receive reasonable work accommodations for a disability, they should know that they have legal options available to them that could result in compensation.

Source: Business Insurance, "Work-from-home policies for disabled employees need review after EEOC ruling," Sheena Harrison, Aug. 17, 2014