Can attendance be an 'essential' job function?

As the pandemic has shown, employers cannot merely assert that full-time, in-workplace attendance is an "essential" function of every job under the ADA. Instead, employers must prove through actual duties--and the consequences of not performing those duties--that each job requires full-time attendance as an ADA essential function.

If you list attendance as an essential function of a job, be prepared to show in court that attendance cannot be accommodated away.

Recent case: BNSF Railway classified a train dispatcher job as safetysensitive, and it prohibited "excessive absenteeism." When a dispatcher with epilepsy had seizures, his neurologist recommended working from home when he had seizure-triggering events, such as...

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