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Teleworking as a Reasonable Accommodation

Teleworking can be a reasonable accommodation for an injury or disability. However, it is not mandated. And just because it is the preferred solution for the employee, does not obligate the employer to provide it. Nevertheless, if it is the ONLY solution that will permit you to come back and complete your work as a whole then they may have no other choice. Especially if they have offered teleworking as a reasonable accommodation to others in the past.

If you had a full-time job before your injury/disability, offering a part-time job as a reasonable accommodation is not acceptable if the position can be fulfilled through teleworking. 

Similarly, California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing provides that teleworking can be a reasonable accommodation. (See Cal. Gov’t Code § 12926(p); Cal. Code Regs., tit. 2, § 11065(p)(2).)) And absent evidence of undue hardship, employers under the FEHA and the ADA should give preference to the employee’s requested accommodations. (See Dutton v. Johnson County Board of County Commissioners, 859 F.Supp. 498, 507 (D. Kan. 1994).) Nevertheless, employers have the final say in what accommodations are provided, and they are not necessarily required to defer to doctor recommendations, nor must they choose the “most reasonable” accommodation. (Soldinger v. Northwest Airlines, Inc. 51 Cal.App.4th 345, 370 (1996).) The primary requirement is that their choice be reasonable based on the employee’s individualized circumstances, and made in good faith. The employer “has the ultimate discretion to choose between effective accommodations, and may choose the less expensive accommodation or the accommodation that is easier for it to provide.” (Hanson v. Lucky Stores, Inc., 74 Cal.Ap.4th 215, 228 (1999).) 

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Wit of Mandate - the official blog of Simas & Associates, Ltd., is made available by Simas & Associates, Ltd. to the general public for educational purposes only.  Specifically, the entries contained within Wit of Mandate are designed to provide the general public with general information concerning California and Federal law.  Wit of Mandate does not provide specific legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Simas & Associates, Ltd.  Wit of Mandate is not an effective or appropriate substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney licensed in your state with experience in your practice area or forum of law.

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