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Can My Employer Refuse to Let Me Telecommute?



The move towards telecommuting has already hit one extreme and come back towards the middle. Many companies will allow employees to telecommute, but realize the importance physically being in the office has on collaboration and relationship building. Employers no longer look down on telecommuting, but at the same time it's not encouraged as a long-term arrangement. So can an employer require you to work-at work?

Most companies have a telecommuting policy. It's common to allow telecommuting for inclement weather days, illness, or days when kids have off school. Many employers also allow employees who have an usually long commute to telecommute. Consult your employee handbook and review the company policy on telecommuting and when and in what cases it's allowed.

One case in which your employer must allow telecommuting is when an employee is a company with 15 or more employees needs a telecommuting accommodation for a disability. In the past decade, courts have interpreted telecommuting requests as a reasonable accommodation for disability, and that a sweeping policy forbidding telecommuting is not reasonable. Employers must look at these requests and consider them carefully on a case by case basis.

Before asking for a telecommuting arrangement, consider how it will impact your team members, your work performance, and how long you will need to telecommute. Also consider if you plan to do it every day, part of some days, or only one or two days a week. Put your plan in writing and discuss it with your supervisor.

If you have been the target of workplace harassment, discrimination or unfair termination, Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. represents clients in federal court and before the EEOC, MSPB and in state and union grievance hearings.

Our attorneys have more than 35 years dedicated to giving clients the attention, advice, support and empowerment they need to effectively meet their goals. We are committed to the principle that all persons shall have equal justice under the law. Call Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. at 304.523.8451 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

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