Can I Get Telework as a Reasonable Accommodation for My Disability in New Jersey?
Many employees in our region are protected against disability discrimination under the
Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and/or the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD). A disabled employee who is qualified for a job may be entitled to reasonable accommodation. You may be wondering: Could I get telework as a reasonable workplace accommodation? The answer is “yes”—it is possible that telework could be granted as a reasonable accommodation. However, it is never guaranteed to any specific employer. Here, our Monmouth County disability discrimination lawyers highlight the most important things you need to know.
Reasonable Accommodation: Defined
A reasonable accommodation refers to any adjustment to the working environment or the manner in which a job is typically performed. An accommodation is designed to help an individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities. In other words, it is a change in the workplace or in how a job is performed that allows someone with a disability to perform their job duties.
Telework is an Example of a Reasonable Accommodation
In the age of technology, telework (remote work, telecommuting, etc) has gained prominence as a viable work arrangement. It can be a perfect solution for those with physical or mental disabilities that make commuting to a physical location difficult or impossible. The EEOC has recognized telework as a form of reasonable accommodation. However, it is essential to remember that whether telework is appropriate depends on the job and the individual’s disability.
A Proposed Accommodation Must Not Impose Under Burden On Employer
While it is legally required that employers covered by the ADA or the LAD make a good faith effort to accommodate qualified workers with disabilities, employers are not obligated to make changes that would impose an “undue hardship” on their business operations. Undue hardship is a significant difficulty or expense when considering factors like the employer’s size, financial resources, and the nature of its operations. For instance, if allowing telework would severely disrupt the employer’s daily operations or lead to a significant financial burden, they may not be required to permit it.
An Employer is Not Required to Provide a Specific Accommodation
It is crucial to differentiate between the need for a reasonable accommodation and the desire for a specific one. Employers are obligated to provide a suitable accommodation that allows the employee to perform their essential job functions, but they are not mandated to provide the exact accommodation the employee requests. For instance, if an employee in New Jersey requests telework as a reasonable accommodation, the employer can consider other accommodations that would be equally effective.
Contact Our New Jersey Disability Discrimination in Employment Attorney Today
At Poulos LoPiccolo PC, our New Jersey disability discrimination lawyers are committed to helping our clients find solutions that work. Your rights matter. If you have any questions or concerns about requesting telework as a reasonable accommodation, we are here to help. Contact us today to set up your confidential case review. From our law office in Monmouth County, we represent employees in disability discrimination claims throughout New Jersey.