In the context of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the workplace and an employer’s brick-and-mortar location are no longer synonymous. Although courts vary with respect to telecommuting as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA, courts are recognizing that technological advances have expanded the class of jobs for which working from home may be reasonable. Recently, in EEOC v. Ford Motor Co., 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 7502 (6th Cir. April 22, 2014), the Sixth Circuit held that attendance at the workplace can no longer be assumed to mean attendance at the employer’s physical location. The court explained that when considering an employee’s accommodation request for a work-from-home arrangement, the vital question is not whether “attendance” is an essential job function, but whether “physical presence” at the employer’s facility is truly essential. Because this decision may signal the start of a trend in redefining the modern workplace for purposes of the ADA, employers should be mindful of the following key points when faced with an employee’s accommodation request for a work-from-home arrangement:
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