THE ADA AND TELEWORK
A federal circuit court just issued a decision undercutting the right of employees to ask for telework as a “reasonable accommodation” for a disability. But it is not as bad for disabled employees as a lot of the management newsletters say it is, especially if their union does the right things.
Here is a web site we like that seems to fairly describe the impact of the decision. You will see that employers can deny telework as an accommodation when the employee’s job requires “regular and predictable” on-site job attendance. It seems to us that unions could help if they now demand to bargain over which jobs meet that test. They certainly should push back hard for the disabled member if telework is denied to demand a basis for management’s claim that the employee’s particular job demands regular and predictable attendance. Ask for the job analysis papers and position description documents that show that. If they do not, the odds of winning go up substantially. And do not cave into an argument that while some employees in disabled position can do the job without regular and predictable attendance that management refuses to assign those duties to the disabled employee. For example, if the Border Patrol Agent occupation requires regular and predictable attendance on the border, there are probably some in that job who are working back at the office helping schedule agents, filing reports, etc.