Susan Rider Interviewed by The ABA Journal on Back to Work Mandates and the ADA

Scharf Banks Marmor partner Susan Rider was extensively interviewed for an article in the ABA Journal entitled Accommodation Awareness: As management retools remote work policies, ADA issues are expected. The article focuses on the interplay of the Americans with Disabilities Act and return to work mandates being created by employers. Susan provided incisive thoughts on considerations that may not be readily apparent as employers make these changes to workplace policies. Specifically, Susan explained that employers need to consider the following:

  • Importance of Office Presence: Susan emphasized that employers promoting a back-to-office mandate need to ask themselves what is truly essential about coming back to the office. E.g.: Is it just that they prefer to have them there? Employers need to determine what particular job functions cannot adequately be performed remotely and why. Per Susan, simple employer preference for in person work will not be sufficient when it comes to requests for ADA accommodations.
  • Equitable Treatment: As employers consider requests for exceptions to in person work, they need to be sure to treat employees who do the same jobs equally.  An employer can run into ADA discrimination claims if they permit one employee to work remotely and deny another employee doing the same job the same work arrangement.
  • Seriousness of All Disability Claims: Susan said that employers need to take seriously all disability claims and not treat visible disabilities differently than invisible or less outwardly obvious disabilities, such as mental health conditions.
  • Mental Health Diagnoses: Susan noted that employers often have a level of distrust when it comes to mental health diagnoses. Employers can tend to put a higher burden of proof on employees in need of mental health accommodations which can run afoul of the ADA.

Scharf Banks Marmor’s Employment Litigation & Counseling practice advises clients on the myriad changes in workplace rules. We help our clients implement thoughtful policies designed to both protect the interest of the employer while helping them promote safe and equitable workplaces. To learn more please contact Susan Rider.

About Scharf Banks Marmor

Scharf Banks Marmor LLC is a sophisticated, women-owned law firm whose attorneys come from leading AmLaw 100 firms and Fortune 100 corporate law departments. Our lawyers concentrate their practices in: Complex Litigation and Appeals, Employment, Corporate, Life Sciences, Intellectual Property, Food, Insurance, and Antitrust.