Accommodating an Employee's Commute to Work Under the ADA: Reasonable, Preferential, or Both?

36 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2015

See all articles by Stephen F. Befort

Stephen F. Befort

University of Minnesota Law School

Date Written: June 4, 2015

Abstract

The federal courts are split on whether a request to accommodate an employee's commute to work is a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. A majority of courts take the position that such a request is inherently unreasonable either because commuting occurs outside of the work environment or because granting such a request would amount to impermissible preferential treatment. A minority of courts, in contrast, find that commuting-related requests are not unreasonable per se and that the appropriateness of such requests should be determined on a case-by-case basis. This article contends that those courts following the majority position take a mistaken categorical approach to reasonable accommodation analysis. Courts, instead, should undertake an individualized analysis that focuses on the effectiveness of the requested accommodation and whether such an accommodation would impose an undue hardship. More broadly, this article asserts that concerns about preferential treatment and the inside/outside distinction should not automatically defeat an otherwise effective reasonable accommodation.

Keywords: Disability, Americans with Disabilities Act, Reasonable Accommodation, Commuting

Suggested Citation

Befort, Stephen F., Accommodating an Employee's Commute to Work Under the ADA: Reasonable, Preferential, or Both? (June 4, 2015). Drake Law Review, Vol. 63, 2015; Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 15-16. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2614674

Stephen F. Befort (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota Law School ( email )

229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
(612) 625-7342 (Phone)
(612) 625-2011 (Fax)

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