Back in April I blogged about a noteworthy Sixth Circuit case that held telecommuting may be a reasonable accommodation. (See here for the post). The case was filed by the EEOC against Ford and involved a resale steel buyer who asked if she could telecommute due to her medical condition of irritable bowel syndrome. The employer’s position was that the employee had to have face to face contact with co-workers and suppliers and so denied the request. The Sixth Circuit held in April that the EEOC was entitled to a jury trial on the issue. The case caught a lot of attention for its significant pronouncement that changes in technology have, in effect, changed the definition of the “workplace” to expand beyond the employer’s actual place of business.
Just yesterday, the Sixth Circuit agreed to rehear the case. What does this mean? That some of the judges are skeptical of the pro-telecommuting decision and want a chance to revisit it. This is a case to watch.