Excerpted from Lexology by Fredrikson & Byron PA

Question

Given the prevalence of remote work during the pandemic, is working from home now presumed to be reasonable disability accommodation?

Answer

Although any inquiry into the reasonableness of a disability accommodation is fact-specific, we do not expect remote work to become the new standard.

Analysis

The federal Americans with Disabilities Act and the Minnesota Human Rights Act require Minnesota employers to reasonably accommodate employees’ physical and mental disabilities. Unfortunately for employers, there is not clear guidance that informs this decision. Rather, the reasonableness of an accommodation will depend on a variety of circumstances including, for example, the essential functions of the job, the extent of the employee’s disability-related restrictions or impairments, and business and operational needs. A separate, but related, issue is if the proposed accommodation causes undue hardship upon the employer, which the employer is obligated to prove.
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