Telecommuting – Not an 'Unreasonable' Accommodation in Today’s World

In EEOC v Ford Motor Company, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently recognized that “given the state of modern technology, it is no longer the case that jobs suitable for telecommuting are ‘extraordinary’ or ‘unusual’.”

Simply put: it is more likely than not that allowing an employee to telecommute will be found to be a reasonable accommodation.

This case emphasizes the uphill battle employers need to be prepared to fight if relying on an “undue burden” argument to support its decision to deny a request for an accommodation.  Demonstrating an undue burden entails consideration of the following factors: the nature and cost of the accommodation; the financial and personnel resources of the affected facility; the resources of the employer as an entity; and the structure and functions of the employer’s workplace. 

When an employer has significant financial and labor resources, winning an “undue burden” argument may be very difficult.

Click here for a more detailed analysis of this case.

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