Almost one year ago, in EEOC v. Ford Motor Co., the 6th Circuit recognized telecommuting as a potential reasonable accommodation under the ADA. This morning, the same court issued its rehearing decision [pdf] in the same case, and the news is not good for those who are fans of workplace flexibility (me included).
Here is what the court said, in a nutshell:
A sometimes-forgotten guide likewise supports the general rule: common sense. Non-lawyers would readily understand that regular on-site attendance is required for interactive jobs. Perhaps they would view it as “the basic, most fundamental” “activity” of their job…. Regular, in-person attendance is an essential function—and a prerequisite to essential functions—of most jobs, especially the interactive ones. That’s the same rule that case law from around the country, the statute’s language, its regulations, and the EEOC’s guidance all point toward. And it’s the controlling one here.
I’ll have my full analysis on Monday morning. Here’s a sneak peak—I think this decision stinks.