Frequently Asked Employer Questions: Can Employers Mandate Return to Office?
Now that COVID-19 is recessing in some areas, can employers mandate employees return to work in the office everyday rather than working from home?
While employers can require that employees return to working in the office instead of their homes, there are exceptions to the rule. Specifically, an employee with a disability whose doctor establishes the employee cannot return to work in the office.
If a qualifying disabled employee is able to perform the essential functions of their job working from home, an employer must allow at-home work unless doing so is an undue hardship. If an employer has been allowing employees to work from home during the pandemic, they may have a difficult time establishing that allowing an employee to continue working from home now is an undue hardship.
The pandemic disrupted traditional work models and in the scramble to keep business afloat, many employers allowed employees to work from home. Two years later, blanket policies that require employees to ‘show up at the office’ may not work for qualifying disabled employees. Employers should be mindful of the changing work landscape and individual needs of their employees.