Woman at table with laptop using a smartphoneHow does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) apply to working from home? You may have questions about reasonable accommodations for work or your rights when it comes to working from home. This blog explains how the ADA protects people with disabilities who work from home or want to work remotely.

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#ADAat30: The Americans with Disabilities Act and Working from Home

Jun 2, 2020

In honor of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), our #ADAat30 blog series will look at how the ADA helps and applies to different types of people with disabilities.

Woman at table with laptop using a smartphoneHave you found yourself working from home or searching for a work from home position? You may have questions about your rights when it comes to working from home. Today, we'll explain how the ADA protects people with disabilities who work from home.

A key feature of the ADA prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment. That means employers must provide reasonable workplace accommodations for employees with disabilities, as long as the accommodations do not cause an undue burden on the employer. Reasonable accommodations are changes to a job, workplace, or the way a job is carried out that allow an employee with a disability to perform a job for which they are qualified.

Reasonable accommodations must also be provided to job candidates during the interview process. To learn more about the types of accommodations available during interviews and how to request them, read Making Interviews Accessible for You.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, working from home is considered a reasonable accommodation under the ADA[1]. Not all people with disabilities need to or want to work from home, but for some it can provide the flexibility they need to succeed on the job.

Some reasons people may use working from home as an accommodation include:

  • Difficulty commuting to and from work due to disability-related reasons
  • Limited access to accessible parking
  • Limited worksite or workstation accessibility
  • Environmental issues (e.g., construction activities, exposure to chemicals/irritants, temperature sensitivity, problematic lighting, etc.)
  • Lack of privacy to manage personal/medical needs, like using the restroom, taking medication, or receiving treatment
  • Rigid work schedule
  • Exposure to viruses and bacteria
  • Workplace distractions affecting concentration[2]

If you have any of these issues and you're interested in working from home as a reasonable accommodation, you'll have to talk with your employer. If your company already offers telework as a benefit, your employer should treat you the same as everyone else. If working from home is not an option, you may need to request telework as a reasonable accommodation.

Before your employer agrees to allow you telework, they'll have to work with you to decide if all the essential functions of your job can be performed at home. If they can't, your employer may not allow you to work from home or only allow it on an occasional basis.

Before you start working from home, you'll want to discuss how your success and performance will be measured with your supervisor. Make sure to check in frequently to ensure you're on track.

ADA at 30 logoTo learn more about working from home, check out these resources:

How can Ticket to Work help?

Social Security's Ticket to Work (Ticket) program provides supports and services that can help you on the path to financial independence. If you are age 18 through 64 and receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits because of your disability, you are eligible to participate in the Ticket program. Participation is free and voluntary. You can use the Ticket program if you work from home or are interested in finding a job working from home.

If you participate in the Ticket program, you'll have access to a variety of service providers who can help you understand how work will affect your benefits, help you with résumé development, and connect you with job leads, among other services. All services offered by Ticket program service providers are completely free of charge. When you start working with your service provider, you'll create a plan that outlines your work goals. If your goal is to find a job working from home, a Ticket service provider can help!

Lori, one of our success stories, has been teleworking for many years, with the help of the Ticket program and other Work Incentives.

Are you or someone you know receiving disability benefits and want to work? The Ticket program has the resources, supports and services to help job seekers with disabilities pursue and reach career goals. Call 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) to talk to someone about your situation and how the Ticket program can help you.

Are you or someone you know receiving disability benefits and want to work? The Ticket program has the resources, supports and services to help job seekers with disabilities pursue and reach career goals. Call 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) to talk to someone about your situation and how the Ticket program can help you.

[1] Source: https://www.eeoc.gov/facts/telework.html
[2] Source: https://askjan.org/topics/telework.cfm

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