Dear Evil Skippy:
Two years ago, I asked my employer under the ADA if I could work at home one day a week. My employer handled my request under its ADA policy. They ultimately said it was unreasonable for me to do my work duties at home. They did allow me to take time off without pay if I was unable to work but would not let me perform work at home. Now, with the coronavirus precautions, our entire office of 65 people has been told to work at home until further notice unless there is a reason that makes it absolutely necessary to go into the office. This has been in effect for three work days now. Everything is going well and I do the same work as before. Should I renew my accommodation request? My employer and I have not talked about it for months.
Dear Accommodation Seeker:
Don’t renew anything or talk about the ADA, not yet. Keep doing your work at home and keep doing it well. Ask your supervisor via germ-free email (thereby inviting a documented email response) if things are going as he/she/they expect. They will either tell you work is getting done as expected or that something needs to improve. If it is the latter, improve and ask for feedback again. Keep doing this (and keep not mentioning the ADA) until you get an email that says you are getting your job done while working at home all the time. Once you get a message saying all is well, keep doing well but don’t ask for an accommodation. Why bother? You are already working at home every day and you just asked for one.
Renew your ADA request after the coronavirus precautions are lifted and you are asked to return to the office full time. From a factual standpoint, your employer can no longer argue that working at home would be unreasonable.
Once you have your accommodation, please oh please oh please write back and tell me your employer’s name and email address. I want to send a snide letter asking why the hell they did not grant your accommodation in the first place if it is so easy to make it reasonable for you to work at home now.
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