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Company Move - Visually Impaired California

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  • Company Move - Visually Impaired California

    Hello,

    I didn't know where to post this, so I apologize if I am in the wrong area

    In short:
    My employer has announced the office is moving shortly. My problem is I am visually impaired and do not feel I can make the proposed drive to the new location and have been discussing telecommuting as an option with them. And the latest proposal from them is they will adjust my hours from 9am to 3pm and make up the additional hours through telecommuting. I told them I do not feel I can make the new commute at all due to my vision.

    I am looking for options...everywhere from "can I collect unemployment if I am forced to quit" to "do I have any recourse with my employer?". I have no idea where to start with all this.

    Details:
    My current commute is 15 min straight by the freeway. The new location is 45 min (no traffic) with multiple interchanges and in one stretch a 6 lane freeway and then some congested town driving. I do not feel comfortable at all with the drive.

    My employer is a VERY large company and has all the tools needed to telecommute and many of the sales staff do so. I am an office worker and do most of my job on the computer. Though my employer is now stating that I am needed in the office for filing and assisting in mailings, which has not been the norm (though I had done some) until we started our discussion.

    Before our discussion today my employer did not require any paperwork from my eye doctor, but I did offer to provide it. Early on I indicated that I would prefer not to get a note from the eye doctor stating "I can not drive" for fear my license would be further restricted (I can't drive at night) and they have not asked for such documentation. Today I called my eye doctor and am in the process of having them prepare a letter along with my records.

    I won't keep going on and on, I just need to get some advice on where to go from here!

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you
    Last edited by Dang; 03-01-2010, 08:29 PM.

  • #2
    Is this perhaps the wrong area to post this question in?
    Is there a more suitable area?

    Thank you

    Comment


    • #3
      I think you've posted in an appropriate area; however I don't see anything illegal about what your employer is planning to do.

      Unfortunately unfair is not illegal.

      I'd really like to see what some of the other responders have to say on this.
      Not everything in America is actionable in a court of law. Please remember that attorneys are in business for profit, and they get paid regardless of whether or not you win or lose.

      I offer my knowledge and experience at no charge, I admit that I am NOT infallible, I am wrong sometimes, hopefully another responder will correct me if that is the case with the answer above, regardless, it is your responsibility to verify any and all information provided.

      Comment


      • #4
        Telecommuting can be considered a reasonable accommodation under the ADA and FEHA. It seems as if telecommuting is the only way you will be able to perform your job. This is assuming that there is no other way that you can get to work without driving, ie, public transportation. If you can perform all of your essential job functions through telecommuting, your employer should grant this as an accommodation for your disability, unless they can show that there is some undue hardhsip by allowing you to do so.

        You should tell your employer that you are requesting telecommuting as a reasonable accommodation for your disability and discuss your limitations and needs to allow you to perform your job.

        Comment


        • #5
          I agree that telecommuting can be a reasonable accomodation, however if the employer is requiring filing and other clerical duties then being on site is a requirement of the job.
          Not everything in America is actionable in a court of law. Please remember that attorneys are in business for profit, and they get paid regardless of whether or not you win or lose.

          I offer my knowledge and experience at no charge, I admit that I am NOT infallible, I am wrong sometimes, hopefully another responder will correct me if that is the case with the answer above, regardless, it is your responsibility to verify any and all information provided.

          Comment


          • #6
            Well, yes, but then we are getting into a dispute as to what the essential functions of the job are. From what the OP says, it does not appear that filing and mailing are essential functions, that they are only required occasionally.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for the feedback guys!

              Here's the problem...
              I've been at my job for six years, around 1 year ago they changed my role. My new role was to be half my old job and the other half was to be new duties which would be more interacting with the sales staff. For the last year, I haven't really done very much hands on work mostly computer and phone stuff (95% computer). Then about the same time as I bring up the accommodation topic, they inform me they now want me to focus all my time on the sales staff part. So it's only recently that I am now needed to be very hands on with stuffing, filing and stamping.

              In short my take is that my advanced computer skills are not as needed as they once were (because I built everything and all is good). And now they have a new focus and I can be a part of it...or not.

              The weird thing is I make pretty good money and for the life of me I can not figure out why they want me to be filing and stamping. I personally think they want to be rid of me...I guess that's their right though.

              Comment


              • #8
                Well, the issue, then, is going to be what exactly the essential functions of your job are. We can probably all agree that if the essential functions require you to be in the office interacting with other staff, telecommuting is not going to be an accommodation.

                However, if what you say is true, that they have only now required you to be in the office after the accommodation discussion was brought up (regardless of the fact that they "officially" changed your job a year ago), I would be suspicious as to the timing. It could be a coincidence, or it could be a tactic to defend themselves against a potential disability discrimination claim. Either way, unfortunately, you are not going to know unless you file a lawsuit or complaint against them. They will simply tell you that they cannot accommodate you and terminate you.

                If they do terminate you, you should certainly consider consulting an attorney or filing a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Yeah, kind of what I thought

                  *******s!

                  Thank you very much!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    OK, I'm reaching here (and you would if it were your job, I'm sure), I kind of think this is getting into a bit more of a lawyer thing, but I do not want to go there...

                    We have a guy at work whom I trained (I have been there 6 years, he has been there 3). I trained him in his position and he maintains the website I built. I guess you could say I am better qualified to do his job than he is. In fact in retrospect, they tried to get him to take over the database stuff I do but he admitted he could not do that. I also would like to state he has a degree and I have a GED, but his degree is not computer related.

                    I mention this because his job is a job that could be remote (in my opinion) and I am better qualified to do that job. As a part of his job he also does sales reporting and that again was part of the training I taught him.

                    I am just looking for direction as I understant how complicated this stuff gets.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Just one more thing to add...

                      The guy who is our technical guy comes from a customer serice background. He used to be a call center manager.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The problem is they generally don't make another employee give up their job as an accommodation.
                        Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                        Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Agreed - the ADA does not require another employee to be bumped out of their job as an accomodation.

                          This is going to come down to what can legitimately be considered "essential functions" of your position and whether or not those functions tie you to the office. We can't tell from where we are sitting if the need for you to be in the office is truly a function of the move and associated reorg, or if it is simply the employer not wanting to accomodate a telecommute. If the latter, we can't tell from here if there is a legitimate business reason not to allow it at this time, or if they are just being obstructionist.

                          It is not necessary for you to get a lawyer at this time, but you might want to consider a discussion with the EEOC.
                          The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Agree discussing with the EEOC or either the California Dept. of Fair Employment & Housing.
                            Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                            Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It is so great to have a resource to kick the fence post with, thank you all.

                              I understand there is a fine line that is tread upon and in my mind you confirm all that I thought. I of course am just trying to make a case for fairness (in my eyes).

                              In the end, what I get from this is a bitter conclusion. I basically trained all the members of my department and they in the end will replace me. What a terrible jaded feeling to be left with. But I guess that is the world we live in now.

                              Thank you all
                              Last edited by Dang; 03-05-2010, 11:50 PM.

                              Comment

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