A recent settlement reported by the EEOC suggests that employers should be careful when rescinding accommodations previously provided to disabled employees. The EEOC’s case alleged that the employer failed to provide an alternate reasonable accommodation, refused to engage in the interactive process, and fired the employee in retaliation for requesting an alternate reasonable accommodation. Of note in the EEOC press release is the fact that the employer had initially permitted the employee, who suffered from hearing loss, to work full-time from home because he needed a quiet area to make sale calls, but later rescinded the employee’s full-time telework arrangement and refused to consider alternative accommodations to permit the employee to do his job. http://eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/1-30-13b.cfm
While employers are not required to provide employees with the precise accommodation requested by the employee, this case suggests that a decision to rescind an accommodation which was previously permitted and, presumably determined not to create an undue hardship, coupled with a refusal to consider an alternate accommodation, may expose an employer to liability for violation of the ADA.