Is telework considered a reasonable accommodation under the ADA and is my condition covered by the ADA?

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Is telework considered a reasonable accommodation under the ADA and is my condition covered by the ADA?

I suffer from chronic peripheral neuropathy which causes pain. The only treatment option involves the occasional use of opiates for pain management. This medication does not impair my ability to do my job. It does however impair my ability to drive to work legally. My employer, the Federal Government encourages telework.

Asked on February 27, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There is no hard and fast answer:

1) Whether something is a disability depends on its severity and controllability; a condition in one person may be a disability, while a lesser version of the condition in another might not be. What you describe might be a disability, but there is no way to say for certain from what you write.

2) Similarly, what is a reasonable accomodation depends on the circumstances. It is likely reasonable to let an employee work at home sometimes (such as when there is a scheduled treatment, a flare up, etc.; or maybe 2 or 3 of 5 days a week), if the job (including necessary interaction with coworkers, supervisors, etc.) permits it. However, it is probably not reasonable to require that a job normally done on site is now always done offsite--an employer does not need to reinvent its corporate culture or change how its departments and functions run to that extent.

Therefore, you may have a disability and may be asking for a reasonable accomodation, or you may not be--it depends on the facts and circumstances. Given the importance of this issue to you, you should consult with employment law counsel in depth about your situation.


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