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Can I Request Telework As An Accommodation?

For federal employees with disabilities, seeking a reasonable accommodation from your federal agency may be difficult. As many federal agencies have granted their employees permission to telework, some may have learned that telework benefits them and their disabilities. Our top-rated, award-winning federal employment attorneys share if telework can be granted as an accommodation.

Reasonable Accommodations for Federal Employees

Federal employees are entitled to the granting of reasonable accommodations for any disabilities they may have that substantially impact major life activities, so they can effectively perform the essential functions of their jobs. According to the EEOC, teleworking can be considered a reasonable accommodation for federal employees with disabilities, even if the employer does not offer teleworking opportunities for all employees. Considered a location change or a change in workplace policies, teleworking may benefit federal employees who are immunocompromised or unable to travel to or work from the office due to their disability.

If a federal employee with a disability was granted the opportunity to telework without an accommodation request due to the COVID-19 pandemic or the changing of their federal agency’s teleworking policies, they can request teleworking as an accommodation if their federal employer wishes for them to return to the office. When requesting this accommodation, they may wish to have a federal employment attorney by their side to advocate for them. Our federal employment attorneys understand what can be done in federal agencies to reasonably accommodate federal employees with disabilities.

To learn more about reasonable accommodations for federal employees, read our blog.

Telework Opportunities for Federal Employees

You do not have to have a disability to telework as a federal employee. Many federal agencies are granting federal employees permission to telework when reasonable. Some employees may be unable to telework, as their job duties require them to be in the office when working; however, for many federal employees, teleworking full-time or a hybrid schedule may be possible for their positions.

To find out if your agency does provide the option to telework, you should contact your agency telework coordinator to learn more about the opportunities available to you.

Do I Have to Return to the Workplace?

If your federal employer is telling you to return to the office, you should obey the order and file a grievance or complaint over it. There is no government-wide order instructing federal employees to return to the office; instead, the discretion to issue a return-to-work order lies with each individual employing agency. Your safest option as a federal employee is to return to the office, seek any applicable reasonable accommodation, and file a complaint later if you believe you are being unfairly treated or discriminated/retaliated against in your agency’s return to work policies. An experienced federal employment attorney can help you determine which is the best option for you and guide you through the complaint process if necessary.

If you have a disability and have found that teleworking can accommodate your needs, you should share this information with your supervisor. If approved as an accommodation, you can continue to telework and not need to return to the office.

Defend Your Rights & Your Career

With the ability to work remotely, our top-rated, award-winning federal employment attorneys at The Law Firm of John P. Mahoney, Esq., Attorneys at Law, PLLC understand that you may wish to remain as a remote federal employee and continue teleworking. If you are a federal employee with a disability, our federal employment attorneys can help you request continued teleworking as a reasonable accommodation to suit your disability and advocate for your legal rights.

Are you a federal employee with a disability and have learned that telework benefits your performance and day-to-day life at work? Schedule a consultation with one of our top-rated, award-winning federal employment attorneys today by calling (202) 759-7780 to learn how we can help you request and secure a reasonable accommodation and advocate for your legal rights as a federal employee.

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