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Court Holds Working from Home Can Sometimes be a “Reasonable Accommodation” Under the ADA

One hot-button issue in the area of employment disability law is whether, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, working from home is a “reasonable accommodation” that an employer must allow to enable an employee with a disability to perform his or her job.   In Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky the answer used to almost certainly be “no” — thanks to a 2015 U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decision in EEOC v. Ford Motor Co.  However, the court recently clarified its answer to this question in its February 21, 2018 decision in Mosby-Meachem v. Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division.  In Mosby-Meachem, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that working from home can be a “reasonable accommodation” that an employer must allow, depending upon the circumstances.  In that case, the court was persuaded that working from home was a  “reasonable accommodation” for Ms. Mosby-Meachem that must be permitted.  The circumstances which persuaded the court included the fact that Ms. Mosby-Meachem had previously worked from home for a significant period without any problems, her co-workers and others she dealt with in performing her job testified that the job duties could be remotely performed without problems, and that her need to work from home was temporary and not permanent in nature.  The take-away from this significant development is that working from home can possibly be a “reasonable accommodation” under the ADA.  As is common throughout the law, it all depends on the particular facts of the case.

Check out the Mosby-Meachem decision here.


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