FACT FINDERS: Work from home employee rights

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 10:17 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Many folks working from home are now being told they need to go back to the office. But what if you want to continue to work remotely?

What are employee rights in that regard?

Your boss absolutely can require you to go back to the office, according to Debora Verdier with the Cavanagh Law Firm. While it is ultimately the employer’s decision, she said, there is a caveat.

The employer has an obligation to reasonably accommodate any disability. Verdier says an example might be: an employee with a disability that makes them more sensitive to COVID-19.

She said the employer should take that into consideration.

What about the employee who just really liked working from home, saying they’ve proven during the past year and a half they can do it and they want to continue?

”That is an employment decision that is made just like as if the employee, when they first started the job, the job was in the office and now you’re expected to come back to the office. Being in the office, if the employer so determines is an essential function of the job, then you need to come to the office if you want to keep the job,” said Verdier.

She went on to say that in most cases, it would not be discriminatory to terminate someone who refuses to come back, as long as the boss is applying that same standard across the board.

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