by Frank Spada
In April 2014, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in EEOC v. Ford Motor Company reviewed whether a telecommuting arrangement could be a reasonable accommodation for an employee suffering from a debilitating disability.
Ford terminated the plaintiff, Jane Harris, from her position as a steel buyer after she asked to telecommute four days per week to manage her irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The EEOC’s suit alleged that Ford discriminated against Harris on the basis of her disability and retaliated against her for filing a charge with the EEOC. A trial court ruled in Ford’s favor, but the 6th Circuit reversed and remanded the case back to the trial court.
Face-to-face considered key
Harris had been a steel buyer at Ford since 2003. Buyers respond to emergency supply issues to ensure continuous supply to parts manufacturers. Ford argued that the essence of the job “was group problem solving, which required that a ...(register to read more)