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Employment Blog

Working from Home May Not be Automatic

Authored by Dean R. Dietrich
Posted on September 18, 2014
Filed under Employment

I wrote a blog a number of months ago about a federal Court of Appeals decision which strongly suggested that working from home would be a required reasonable accommodation in certain circumstances. A decision involving Ford Motor Company strongly suggested that the company would be required to allow an employee with irritable bowel syndrome to work from home because the company could not show that attendance at work was an essential requirement for the work of this employee. See blog entitled "Door Open to Working at Home".

Much to everyones surprise, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals very recently issued an order withdrawing its decision and setting the matter up for argument again. This order came because of a Motion to Reconsider filed by Ford Motor Company and signals that the Court of Appeals may have come to realize that its rather striking decision requiring an accommodation of working at home is not necessarily authorized under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

We understand that an occasional request to work at home may be part of a reasonable accommodation package for an employee, but an accommodation that the employee may work at home at all times does not appear reasonable. Apparently, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has had second thoughts and will reconsider its decision on what is a reasonable accommodation for an employee who has difficulty coming to work or working at the place of employment.

We will continue to monitor this case. It is should be very interesting.