What are my rights if I have a disability and requested reasonable accommodations so that I could continue to work?

My employer put me on leave using my PTO and stated I would need to go on FMLA after a week of PTO. My request to my employer was in writing. Being put on leave was verbally done by my HR and later my manager emailed stating I was on “indefinite” leave of absence. I have vision impairments and requested an workstation relocation. I offered working from home until they could make adjustments. This was denied even though I could perform nearly all my job responsibilities remotely. I’m losing my PTO without requesting it, what can I do?

Asked on February 11, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, working from home  is not a reasonable accommodation: an employer can legitimately require that all work be done on-site (e.g. to allow better coordination among co-workers or direction by supervisors; to be able to better monitor work; to foster a team environment; etc.) and so working from home is not an accommodation that your employer would have to make. (A "reasonable accommodation" lets you do the work you were hired to do, at the location and during the hours you are supposed to do it.  If you cannot do your work from the office despite on-site accommodations--and from what you write, your employer did try to make reasonable on-site accommodations--your employer does not need to let you work from home, could place you on leave, and could potentially terminate you.


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