The ripple effects of the pandemic continue to disrupt the status quo, particularly in the work world. While some workers and organizations have come to embrace work from home (WFH), others would like to see the practice quietly fade into the past.
Like it or not, the pandemic demonstrated that many jobs can be done from home. But not all employers would like to continue to accommodate remote workers. Those who are ready to see its exit are referring to this as “flexibility fatigue.” But frustration with semi-remote or fully remote work should be tempered by potential legal implications, according to an April blog post written by Hannah Yoder in Lexology, a global legal research platform.
Yoder cautions that employers should be aware that a denial for remote workers could put a company at risk as it pertains to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).This is making accommodation of remote work more difficult for employers to refuse as the basic principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act remain. This should be an interactive process, one that demands the employer and the employee engage in a “flexible, cooperative” exchange of information in relation to the request. Employers do not have to grant an employee’s work-from-home request if it means eliminating essential job functions.
Lexology recommends employers are clear about what they consider an essential job function when considering a request. Employers need to consider these things when they deny an accommodation request for remote work from an employee on the basis that essential job functions cannot be performed remotely. This is important if the employee has been working remotely for any period of time, according to the article. The Social Security Administration also provides its take on ADA and work from home.