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I have a position as Business Analyst. I suffer from chronic depression, which has been clearly communicated with medical certification to my manager and HR. I requested that I be allowed to work remotely on an as needed basis as I adjusted to medication and worked towards remission of my illness. My manager was not satisfied by this work relationship.

Policy: the department currently offers all team members the opportunity to work remotely up to 2 days a week on a pre-scheduled basis. My request is to be allowed to do this more than 2 days a week. Performance is measured based on a “ticket” request process. It can be evaluated the same in office or remotely; other than direct observation.

Reason for request: Working remotely allows me to work without being a distraction to others and alleviates some anxiety I temporarily experience. My treatment causes muscle spasms which could be distracting or disturbing to others. This hasn’t been an issue for others that I am aware of, but I am both conscious of how it might make people feel uncomfortable and I am a bit self-conscious about it. The anxiety is often caused by being overstimulated. The request is to ensure I can focus on my work when I am symptomatic. I can still perform my job functions and interact via phone/Skype/email, but face to face was causing me some difficulty.

If I am capable of fulfilling 100% of my job responsibilities remotely, is this a reasonable accommodation to request, based on the ADA requirements?

  • Why can you work remotely but not onsite? Are employees in your company (and your team specifically) ever allowed to work remotely? – Dukeling Aug 12 '18 at 12:47
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    Polls are off topic, please let other users provide their own answers. Such answers will likely also provide justification for why it says what it says, which should be more meaningful to you than simply a few upvotes. – Dukeling Aug 12 '18 at 12:49
  • invisible disabilities are often a tough sell. not saying that's right, but warning it's an uphill climb. – dandavis Aug 12 '18 at 20:42
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There are a couple of reasons such a request can be denied:

Security and insurance

If you're taking company resources off site and/or connecting to the company network remotely, this puts the company at risk (anywhere from getting your laptop stolen, getting hacked or even just accidentally breaking your laptop).

This does not apply if you're already allowed to work remotely occasionally.

You're needed onsite

This is pretty self-explanatory.

You say you can fulfil 100% of your job responsibilities remotely, so this may not apply.

Although having meetings with your coworkers, for example, may be made more difficult (even if it's still possible), potentially to a point that one could argue it's no longer a reasonable accommodation.

Performance measurement

This isn't really within what they can legally argue, but it's worth mentioning nonetheless.

They can be concerned about how easy it would be to see whether you're actually working. Yes, producing results would show them you're working, but in some jobs it's hard to figure out exactly, or even roughly, how much time some results took to produce. At least when you're in the office, it's implied that you're working (most of the time, probably).

How to set their minds at ease about this would probably make for a decent question by itself.

There isn't a need to work remotely

Simply saying "I need to work remotely until further notice" is not particularly likely to work, even if they're willing to make reasonable accommodations.

You may need to make a good case for why you can't work onsite, as well as be open to any alternatives that would solve the problem you have with working onsite.

You may also want to get your doctor to write you a note recommending you stay home.

It could also help your case if you could give them a firm date for when you'd be able to return to working onsite (assuming this isn't too far in the future), even if this date wouldn't be 100% accurate and would be subject to change. This would help because it reinforces that there is actually an end date - a vague request of "until I'm better" can be extended for years.

If you can't convince them

If you're unable to convince them to let you work from home, and you feel justified to do so, taking into account the factors mentioned above, you may have more of a legal question on your hands, and the next step would probably be some sort of legal action (filing a complaint with the EEOC seems to be the recommendation). Although I'd recommend at least some hesitance here - it could burn some bridges and make it more likely they'd try to get rid of you for "other" reasons later on.


Related questions that may help you argue your case:

How should I bring up working from home?

How could I ask my future employer if I can work remotely?

Telecommuting: how should I ask to successfully achieve it?

What data supports the benefits of telecommuting/working from home?

What can I do to prepare for working remotely?

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If I am capable of fulfilling 100% of my job responsibilities remotely, is this a reasonable accommodation to request, based on the ADA requirements?

Yes, but it's also reasonable for your workplace to decide you cannot for a number of reasons that may or may not have anything to do with you being able to fulfill your job responsibilities. Something as simple as they have no provisions to monitor and control remote workers. It's actually a fair bit of work to do properly.

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