Gilbert Garcia, a wonderful writer at the San Antonio Express News has penned a column about the coronavirus and working from home. He writes about the experience and what we learn from working from home. His column suggests we learn that many workers fear being away from work and being out of the loop. But, for many workers, the experience will likely have a very different lesson: that working from home is doable. In so many discrimination lawsuits, persons with disabilities have been told they cannot work from home, even when practical considerations suggest otherwise. Many requests for accommodation ask to work from home either full-time, or simply some of the time. Employers typically argue that the nature of the job requires working at the work place only. Whether a person can accomplish specific tasks while working from home becomes a major fact issue.
In Credeur v. State of Louisiana, No. 16-30658 (5th. Cir. 6/23/2017), the employe argued that she could work from home and that she needed to work from home due to her disability. The employer argued that her work was team oriented and could only be performed at the work place. The Fifth Circuit essentially sided with the employer. I previously wrote about that decision here. In many of these denials of telecommuting, in my opinion most employers just do not trust the employee. They do not trust the employee to work from home. In court and in administrative proceedings, the employer argues that everyone needs to be at work, they rely on team effort, etc. I think we may find over the next few months that working remotely is indeed possible.
As we used to say in Iraq, Be Safe.