We Protect Workers

Is asking to work from home a reasonable accommodation request?

You got hurt on the job or developed an acquired medical condition. You want to get back to work, but you need to heal first. Frequent rest or even immobilization are necessary for your recovery. That means you can’t necessarily go to your job and perform work for eight hours in a traditional setting until you fully recover.

You might be able to do your work from home or even arrange for a change of job responsibilities temporarily until you can come back to work full-time in your previous capacity. Do you have the right to ask for such assistance from your employer, or can they just deny your request outright?

Your job duties and company policies affect your options in this scenario

How reasonable your request for accommodation via remote work actually is depends on three primary factors. The first is what kind of work you usually perform for the company and how well that translates to remote work. The second is the scope of the company and whether it would be simple for them to move you into a position you can do from your home, such as tech support or customer service. The third and final consideration is whether the company allows anyone else to do remote work.

If the company does have a remote work program, allowing someone who needs accommodations to work from home temporarily would be a reasonable request. If the company does not have work that someone can perform remotely or if they do not have a large enough business to change job responsibilities for a worker, such requests may not be reasonable.

Discussing your medical issue and your employer’s response to your needs can give you an idea about what steps to take when you need accommodations to continue working.