Q. One of my employees was recently injured in a nonwork-related accident. If this employee returns to work and requires an accommodation to perform his duties, can allowing him to telecommute be considered reasonable accommodation?
A. Under the ADA and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, telecommuting can be a reasonable accommodation. If the employee’s physical presence at the assigned work site or office is not essential to the job, then working from home may be a reasonable accommodation.
Remember, though, that if you grant a telecommuting request, you will likely be required to provide reasonable accommodations for the employee’s home office, such as equipping it with an ergonomic chair, office electronics and software and Internet connectivity. However, each of these accommodations can present added liability and employment issues, such as the employee’s use of personal electronics during work hours, and taking on the expense of an outside Internet/phone service provider.