BOSTON—Lawyers are not connecting telecommuting with the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA.
An article in Lawyers.com points to a ruling by a federal court in Ohio that says employers are not required to allow their employees to telecommute, but at minimum they have to consider the possibility of telecommuting for employees with disabilities.
“The focus has shifted from what qualifies as a disability. It’s fair to assume that most if not all medical conditions are going to be covered as protected disabilities,” Jonathan Hyman, a labor and employment attorney in Cleveland, told Lawyer.com.
“Conventional wisdom has always been under the ADA, telecommuting is not a per-se reasonable accommodation. It was a very high hurdle for an employee to overcome, that allowing telecommuting work wasn’t an undue burden on the employer.”
This could drive further demand for virtual office space. Virtual offices make it easier for people with disabilities to work because they avoid commuting to a physical office space. By allowing people with disabilities to work from a virtual office, employers can tap into a talented workforce that may otherwise not be available.
Virtual offices are shown in study after study to spur greater productivity. In this sense, as qualified workers in many industries are nearing retirement, virtual offices could open up a new field of workers; workers with disabilities who have plenty to offer employers.