Employees Do Not Have the Right to Dictate the Reasonable Accommodation


The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act (applicable to federal sector workers) require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to enable disabled employees to perform their essential job functions or enjoy the privileges and benefits of employment, but as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit made clear, the employee is not able to dictate what that accommodation should be.

In Yochim v. Carson, an attorney for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sought a reasonable accommodation of full- or part-time telecommuting. The employer, however, offered other accommodations, such as a modified work schedule and flexible leave, that would have addressed her needs. The attorney refused such accommodations, insisting on telecommuting, which was denied.

The Seventh Circuit rejected her failure to accommodate claim, finding that the employer had offered reasonable accommodations – just not the accommodation the attorney wanted. As other cases have made clear, if multiple reasonable accommodations are available, the employer may choose the accommodation. It need not be the best or most effective accommodation, as long as it enables the employee to perform her essential job functions.