Continued Teleworking Not Required by EEOC
BREAKING: The EEOC recently issued updated guidance clarifying that employers who permitted employees to work remotely due to COVID-19 are not necessarily required to permit those employees to continue working remotely once the concerns subside and an employer begins bringing employees back into the workplace. Per the EEOC, if an employer “temporarily excused performance of one or more essential functions when it closed the workplace and enabled employees to telework for the purpose of protecting their safety from COVID-19, it does not mean that the employer permanently changed a job’s essential functions, that telework is always a feasible accommodation, or that it does not pose an undue hardship.” This question comes up in the context of whether employers should provide teleworking options as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The EEOC’s Guidance makes it clear that simply affording that option during the pandemic does not permanently make it a reasonable accommodation, and that employers should still go through the normal assessment of whether the job duties are able to be performed remotely or otherwise imposes any undue hardship on the company.
See Q&A No. D-15 in this link: “What You Should Know about COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws”
Rob Rickman is a partner in the Dallas office of Mayer LLP and focuses on Labor & Employment Litigation.