Q & A Session – Telework as a Reasonable Accommodation


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


I have a disability from a back injury sustained while serving in Iraq. I have been working at an agency for 9 months with a long commute. Due to increased pain, my doctor raised the level of pain medication and I can no longer make the drive to work. I applied for reasonable accommodation to telework, but my request was denied. I am filing an appeal. What are my options and could they fire me?


Telework can be denied if it is essential to your job that you be in the office. Commuting and your residence location are personal options that are unrelated to your work. While your agency does not have an obligation to accommodate your disabilities by granting you full-time telecommuting, if you must be in the office, perhaps a compromise of telecommuting two to three days a week could be sufficient to let you get into the office and alleviate your back pain.


Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.

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