Thursday, September 4, 2014

6th Circuit agrees to re-hear telecommuting accommodation case

In April, the 6th Circuit issued a decision that recognized telecommuting as a possible reasonable accommodation under the ADA. Work-life balance advocates rejoiced. It seems that their revelry may have been premature.

Earlier this week, that same court agreed to rehear the case — EEOC v. Ford Motor Co.en banc. Thus, the entire panoply of 6th Circuit judges, and not just a random panel of three, will hear the case anew.

Would the 6th Circuit backtrack on its pronouncement that “[C]ommunications technology has advanced to the point that it is no longer an “unusual case where an employee can effectively perform all work-related duties from home?” Or will the court take issue with the panel’s decision that a fact issue existed over whether physical attendance at the place of employment was an essential function of this plaintiff’s job? Or will the en banc panel reach the same result with a new opinion?

Stay tuned. The outcome of this case will be one of the most significant ADA cases of 2015.

[Hat tip: Robin Shea]