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Telework Accommodation Request Flowchart

Tool to help process requests for telework as an accommodation

Step One: Accommodation Request

Once you receive a request from an employee to telework because of a medical condition, you should determine whether it’s an accommodation request related to a disability.

Is the request covered under your current telework policy?

  • If yes, grant the request without going through the entire interactive process but proceed to step five in case accommodations are needed for the home office.
  • If no, can the employee’s job, or part of the job, be performed from home? See question 4 at Work at Home/Telework as a Reasonable Accommodation.
    • If yes, proceed to step two.
    • If no, let the employee know that telework is not possible in the current job and ask if the employee is interested in exploring options to work at the place of employment or reassignment to a job that can be done from home.
      • If yes, conduct the interactive process to explore other options.
      • If no, deny the request to telework and proceed to Step 6.

Step Two: Gathering Information

The next step is to determine whether it is necessary to request medical documentation showing that the employee has a disability and needs the requested accommodation. When an employee requests an accommodation and the disability and need for the accommodation are not obvious or already documented, the employer can require reasonable medical documentation.

  1. Do you need medical documentation to support the request?
    • If no, proceed to step three.
    • If yes, request medical documentation, but check to see what information you already have about the disability and limitations. Do not ask for information you already have or information that is unrelated to determining the existence of a disability and the necessity for an accommodation.
  2. Does the medical information support the request?
    • If yes, proceed to step three.
    • If no, let the employee know that the medical information is not sufficient and if requested, give the employee time to provide additional information.

Step Three: Exploring Accommodation Options

Under the ADA, employers can explore alternative accommodation options.

Do you want to explore options other than telework?

  • If no, proceed to step four.
  • If yes, the first step is to understand why telework is being requested. What are the employee’s limitations that led to the request? Once you have this information other options may be obvious, or it may be obvious that telework is the only effective option. If neither is obvious, you and the employee can brainstorm ideas or contact JAN for ideas. Once you have a list of effective options, move on to step four.

Step Four: Choosing the Accommodation

When possible, a best practice is to choose the employee’s preferred accommodation, but under the ADA the employer can opt for any effective option.

Are you going to allow telework?

  • If yes, proceed to step five.
  • If no, meet with the employee to discuss the alternative option you chose.

Step Five: Implementing the Accommodation

Under the ADA, employers must take whatever steps are necessary to make sure that an accommodation is effective — absent undue hardship. Regarding telework, this can mean providing equipment, technical support, and additional accommodations.

  1. If needed, can the same equipment used in the office be provided for the home office?
    • If yes, provide the equipment.
    • If no, can an effective alternative be provided?
      • If yes, provide the alternative.
      • If no, consider whether there is another way to perform the job duty or if the duty is marginal, whether it can be removed.
        • If yes, go through the interactive process if needed to determine effective options.
  2. Is adequate technical support available?
    • If no, assign someone with adequate technical skills to respond to the employee’s technical issues.
    • If yes, make sure someone is available and responsive.
  3. Does the employee need other accommodations for the home office?
    • If no, proceed to step 6.
    • If yes, go through the interactive process if needed to determine effective options.

Step 6: Documenting and Monitoring the Accommodation(s)

Document all agreed upon accommodations. If an accommodation was not granted due to undue hardship, make sure you make detailed record of the request, the reason it was deemed a hardship, and alternative considerations that were made.

Make sure that implemented accommodations continue to be effective by checking in with the employee periodically and letting the employee know who to contact if any problems arise. If an accommodation involves equipment that may need regular maintenance or upgrade, be sure that is scheduled and monitored to maintain effectiveness.