The Potential Impact Of EEOC V. Ford On Commute-Related Requests
If allowed to stand, the Sixth Circuit’s recent decision in EEOC v. Ford, 752 F.3d 634 (6th Cir. 2014), holding that telecommuting may be a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with disabilities Act (ADA) for an employee with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, may have far-reaching consequences for other types of commuter-elated requests from disabled employees. For instance, disabled employees frequently request shift changes or modified start and end times. Until now, many courts have concluded that these accommodations are not required under the ADA, either because the employer has no duty to assist with commuting problems, or because the ability to show up to work at an employer-designated time is deemed an “essential function” of the job. But Ford casts significant doubt on the continuing validity of these conclusions.