Remote work can be a crucial form of disability accommodation

Maybe you recently got diagnosed with a serious medical condition. Perhaps you got hurt on the job or in a car crash. Whether you have an injury or an illness, physically going into work every day could be very difficult for you.

You may need some help from your employer so that you can continue working and earning the money you need to support yourself and your family members. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) allows employees with medical conditions that affect their daily lives or work responsibilities to ask their employers for accommodations.

In many cases, remote work can be an accommodation that helps the company comply with the ADA and the employee maintain their job.

Remote work can help the company

You may not have transportation, or your employer may not have appropriately accessible facilities. Completely rearranging the company’s offices to accommodate an injured worker might be too much to ask, but working from home could be a more reasonable request.

Although the business may need to invest in some supplies or change the way that you perform certain functions, it can minimize how much it costs to accommodate you by letting you do your work from home or another remote location, like the hospital. 

Remote work can help recovering workers

There are numerous ways that employees benefit from remote work as an accommodation. They can reduce their commute time and costs, as well as the discomfort that travel may cause given their condition. They can continue to support themselves and maintain health insurance. Additionally, having a job can help someone struggling with health issues stave off the negative mental health consequences of their health concerns.

Unlike certain other accommodations, like the addition of a ramp or a wheelchair-accessible bathroom, remote work arrangements won’t usually require much time to arrange or much upfront financial investment from the company. Employees may find it easier to ask for remote work than other accommodations

However, even when it is possible for a worker to do their job from elsewhere, their employer may try to fight them on this accommodation. If your employer has chosen to deny your accommodation request or take punitive action against you because of your medical condition, their behavior could constitute disability discrimination.

Fighting back against disability discrimination protects your career and the rights of other workers at the company.