It wouldn’t be necessary, though the agency could still choose to grant telework as the accommodation if it wanted to. EEOC guidance suggests that the employee’s preference on accommodation should be considered, but ultimately the agency gets to choose the accommodation. See Complainant v. Army, EEOC Appeal No. 0120122847 (2014); Jordan v. Secretary of Navy, EEOC Appeal No. 0120110907 (2012)

The only time an agency must grant telework as an accommodation is if:

1. The essential functions of employee’s job can be performed from home,

2. There is no other effective accommodation that would allow the employee to perform the job within their medical restrictions, and

3. Granting telework is not an undue hardship on the agency.

EEOC Fact Sheet: Work at Home/Telework as a Reasonable Accommodation; see also Dahlman v. CPSC, EEOC Appeal No.0120073190 (2010); Lavern B. v. HUD, EEOC Appeal No. 0720130029 (2015).

There may be times when an agency chooses to grant telework even though there might be an effective accommodation available at the worksite. For example, let’s say an employee has irritable bowel syndrome. The agency could provide the employee with a workstation close to the restroom, which would be an effective accommodation.

However, taking into account the fact that the restroom is not single-use and the fact that the employee needing to use the facilities in front of the employee’s coworkers might cause embarrassment, the agency might choose to grant the employee telework instead.

For more guidance, join Attorney at Law/FELTG Instructor Ann Boehm on May 11 for Managing Post-pandemic Reasonable Accommodation Requests and Medical Documentation, the second part of our three-part webinar series Navigating the Return to the Post-pandemic Federal Workplace.

Have a question? Ask FELTG.

The information presented here is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Contacting FELTG in any way/format does not create the existence of an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, you should contact an attorney.

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