The EEOC and, subsequently, the Court, supplanted its judgment for an employer’s as to whether physical presence at the office was an essential function of a reseller’s job, determining that a reseller should be permitted to telecommute several days a week despite the fact that the job description required physical presence at the office. EEOC v. Ford Motor Co., 2014 WL1584674 (6th Cir. 2014). The Court determined the employer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in refusing to accommodate its employee and permit her to work from home several days a week even though her job position required physical presence. This decision has the effect of preferring the EEOC’s and the Court’s judgment as to the essential functions of a job over that of the employer who actually created the job with its business needs in mind.
Shouldn’t an employer be able to determine what the essential functions of a position should be as long as the essential functions are clearly defined in a job description created with the position and the business’ needs in mind? The essential functions of a job are just that and should not be tailored to the person hired for the position as a general rule. This decision thwarts the long-recognized legal premise that employers are the best able to determine the duties it considers essential to the purpose of its business. In my opinion, this Opinion goes too far!