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Telecommuting not always a reasonable ADA accommodation

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

by Frank P. Spada, Jr., Esq., Pepper Hamilton LLP

A federal appeals court has ruled that telecommuting is not always a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. The case involved a Ford employee suffering from a disability, but the court found that on-site attendance was an essential function of the plaintiff’s job.

The plaintiff, Jane Harris, was terminated as a resale steel buyer at Ford after she asked to telecommute up to four days per week to control her irritable bowel syndrome. The EEOC brought suit ­alleging that Ford discriminated against Harris on the basis of her disability and retaliated against her for filing an EEOC complaint.  

Buyers serve as intermediaries between the companies that use steel to produce parts for Ford and the steel suppliers themselves. Buyers respond to emergency supply issues to ensure continuous supply to the parts manufacturers. Ford argued that an essential function of the job was “group ...(register to read more)

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