April 28, 2014

In the case Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Ford Motor Company, No. 12-2484, the Sixth Circuit has reversed a summary judgment ruling in favor of Ford and found that ‘attendance’ at work in today’s modern era may not always be assumed to mean that an employee must physically be at an employer’s work site.  Telecommuting from home may satisfy an attendance requirement for certain jobs.  The Court noted that many outdated cases that rejected telecommuting as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA had focused on extremely outdated technology.

Although results of this case do not open the door for all workers to telecommute from home in the event of a disability, it is one of several recent cases which have considered that employees telecommuting from home may be a reasonable accommodation for certain employees under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Employers should seriously consider the viability of telecommuting as a reasonable accommodation in connection with an employee’s disability in the event it is requested in light of this recent decision.