Work From Home

Reasonable accommodations on the table? Put that offer in writing!

Reasonable accommodations on the table? Put that offer in writing!

Disabled employees who have medical needs that require a reasonable accommodation and don’t receive one can quit and still be eligible to receive unemployment benefits.

To counter such claims, put all accommodation offers in writing.

Recent case: Loria worked for the city of Minneapolis and managed to negotiate a work schedule that allowed her to work from home to care for her mother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

That worked for a while, but then her mother had to go into a nursing home.

Loria’s employer then told her she had to be in the office three days a week, but could use FMLA leave for the other days. She accepted that schedule but soon used up all her FMLA leave. Then an HR representative told Loria she could apply for a six-month leave of absence, but Loria’s supervisor would need to approve it.

Loria quit rather than ask for the leave of absence.

Then she applied for unemployment compensation. She was turned down and appealed.

Her argument: That she had asked for a reasonable accommodation, but had never received one.

Loria won on appeal. The court said the employer never offered an accommodation. HR may have suggested that there was a possibility of leave, but seemed to discourage the idea. If it wanted to defend itself by arguing that it offered a reasonable accommodation, it had to have actually offered one. (Quade v. City of Minneapolis, No. A15-1049, Court of Appeals of Minnesota, 2016)

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