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Telecommuting is a reasonable work accommodation


In this age of computers, the internet, smart phones and other high-tech gadgets, it might not seem that surprising that many California workers telecommute. This means that the employee often works from home but still completes a job for a remote employer.

Recently, a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that telecommuting is a reasonable work accommodation for an employee who cannot come to the workplace because of a disability. In this case, an employee worked as a resale steel buyer for Ford Motor Co. She also suffered from irritable bowel syndrome. Following a request to work from home four days a week as an accommodation for the irritable bowel syndrome, she was terminated.

She sued. The court sided with the woman, saying that Ford could not prove why the woman had to be physically in the office in order to complete the duties of her job. The case has been remanded to a lower court for further decisions.

Following this case, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will consider telecommuting to be a valid and reasonable accommodation for people suffering from disabilities under the Americans with Disability Act. Employers will need to provide necessary equipment and team integration to avoid discrimination claims.

California workers who have not received reasonable work accommodations should know they have rights under employee law. If employers fail to provide accommodations, these workers could be entitled to compensation if they suffered losses as a result. Employee have rights under several state and federal laws that protect them from discrimination. With the right help, employees can enforce these rights -- including the right to a reasonable work accommodation for a disability.

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

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

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