Telecommuting for work is a hot topic right now, with Yahoo's anti-telecommuting policy setting off a national debate. But if a worker claims he can't make it into work for medical reasons, must his employer allow him to telecommute as a "reasonable accomodation" under the Americans with Disabilities Act? Not always, according to the Tenth Circuit.
The case involved the late Doyle "Rocky" Brown, who was diagnosed with cancer that required surgery. After Brown exhausted his 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave, he gave his employer a doctor's note requesting three more weeks of leave. Despite offering to work "against doctor's orders," Brown was fired, in part because of excessive absences.
Brown sued his employer under the Americans with Disabilities Act, arguing they did not provide him with reasonable accommodations such as a telecommuting option. But a lower court held, and the Tenth Circuit later agreed in a February 2012 opinion, that Brown's employer did not, under the ADA, have to accommodate his work absences any further.