Employers in Florida must make reasonable accommodations for individuals who have conditions that are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. In some cases, this means that the employer must allow the employee to telecommute. The ADA applies to private employers who have at least 15 employees and to all public employers. Telecommuting may qualify as a reasonable accommodation for employees who meet minimum job requirements and who are disabled under the definitions of the ADA. The accommodation must not constitute an undue burden to the employer.
Under the ADA, a qualifying disability is a mental or physical impairment that restricts a major life activity substantially. Major life activities include hearing, seeing, walking, breathing, caring for oneself and completing manual tasks. Individuals with minor, short-term conditions like broken bones, the flu or an ankle sprain are generally not covered. However, people with substantial impairment of vision or hearing, paralysis, HIV, AIDS, epilepsy, specific learning disabilities or mental retardation are likely to be covered by the ADA.
Employers have to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities covered by the ADA. However, they are not required to make adjustments that would be an undue burden on the company. Telecommuting might be a reasonable accommodation in many cases. If an employee’s job primarily involves making phone calls, for example, and that employee is undergoing cancer treatments, it may not constitute an undue burden for the employer to allow the employee to telecommute from home.
Workers in Florida who have questions about their rights under the ADA or state employment regulations might want to schedule a consultation with a lawyer. Legal counsel might be able to help by interviewing witnesses or gathering evidence of disability discrimination.