Welcome to Remote ADA Workplace Accommodation Secrets for employers and people with disabilities and medical conditions! I am Sheryl Ellis, ADA Expert, Human Resources Consultant, and author of Making It Work: Managing Your Health Condition Through ADA Workplace Accommodations. My book is for people with disabilities and medical conditions that affect them at work. It is also referenced by employers, human resources, vocational rehabilitation specialists, healthcare professionals, attorneys, and advocates. I have over 25 years of experience in human resources. I am a recognized expert in Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As a reminder that I am not an attorney, and this is not legal advice.
I love working from home for many reasons. Many of us have had the opportunity to work from home full-time or telework a couple of days a week. Many of you may want to work from home or telework so that you can manage your disability or medical condition while successfully working.
I am here to help you understand how the ADA applies to employment, workplace accommodations, and medical conditions and disabilities. In addition, I will help you learn how to research, prepare, request, and discuss working from home or teleworking as a reasonable accommodation (as well as other accommodations) with your employer because of a medical condition or disability.
There are a couple of points that are important to know about remote and telework.
First, remote work and telework is not a legal right or entitlement. It is subject to various factors, such as an employer’s telework and remote work policies (and modifications to these policies), job functions, federal law requirements under the ADA, and other state and local laws .
Second, employers are not required to provide remote work or telework as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA if they can address your disability-related limitation through other forms of reasonable accommodation if they are just as effective. The ADA defines reasonable accommodation as a modification or adjustment to your work or the work environment .
Even if you and your employer agree that a reasonable accommodation is called for, you are not necessarily entitled to the accommodation you want, including remote work or telework.
For example, Steve is an employee with a significant digestive disorder. He asks his employer if he can work from home as an accommodation to manage his medical condition. Steve’s employer may offer him a modified work schedule or work assignment (depending on other circumstances) as an alternative way to perform his job tasks effectively rather than remote work as a reasonable accommodation if the employer can show that the alternative accommodation is just as effective.
This above is an oversimplified example, but the fact here is that you need to do your homework and prepare your request to work from home or telework. You must provide all the necessary information the employer needs to decide whether you can work from home or telework as a reasonable accommodation because of a disability or medical condition or simply as an alternative to working in the office .
There may be situations where your employer may be required to provide additional accommodations that will enable you to work remotely or telework (depending on the circumstances). Even if you do not qualify for a reasonable accommodation, you should make your case for working from home or teleworking.
In the following posts, I will provide tips and insight that enable you to make your case for working from home, teleworking, or other ADA workplace accommodations. If you want to jump-start your training about ADA workplace accommodations, you can visit my book on Amazon to see if this will help you along the way.
Before I jump into the Americans with disabilities act (ADA) and accommodations, let us first look at your home. Do you have a place in your home where you can work privately and without interruption?
You should start designing your workspace at home.
There are many good deals on Amazon and other sites that may help you effectively work from home, either to help you manage your disability or medical condition or to help you perform your job more effectively, such as
- sit-stand desks,
- ergonomic chairs,
- noise canceling devices, and
I have been working from home for over ten years, and these items have been invaluable to my ability to manage my health condition while working from home.
I have put together a list to help you start thinking about what will help you to be as effective and efficient as possible when working from home (see below).
Stay tuned for more Workplace Accommodation Secrets to come!
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