Standing Desk Trend and the ADA


man in brown long sleeved button up shirt standing while using gray laptop computer on brown wooden table beside woman in gray long sleeved shirt sitting
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I just saw this article this morning and wanted to add it to my archive on Employment Law topics to stay abreast of, especially those related to the ADA.

This article reminds us to look a little more closely at these standing desk requests as not only a request to try something different to keep employees happy. It is very important to look at these requests through the lens of the ADA. Essentially we need to determine when the request is or is not  a request for an accommodation and then proceed with caution.

Here is a summary of key considerations:

  1. Is the request a generic request, made with no mention of a physical or mental issue that is caused by their current seating arrangement? Are they simply looking for a healthier option of sitting vs standing? Do they want to give it a go because others are doing so and that looks like a nice option? If this is the case, then you are probably not looking at an Accommodation request and then would need to consider some of the following factors: such as the cost of modifying the employee’s workstation; whether it provided similar or comparable accommodations to other employees; the nature of the employee’s work (whether it is more rote and/or repetitive, or requires significant concentration and focus); how the accommodation is intended to assist the employee in performing his or her essential job functions; and whether those essential job functions will suffer in other ways as a result of the accommodation.
  2. On the other hand, an employee who notifies his or her employer that he or she (or his or her healthcare provider) believes a standing or sit-stand desk is needed to address a specific health problem, such as chronic back pain, likely has made a reasonable accommodation request.
  3. When an employee requests a standing or sit-stand desk, the employer will want to consider whether the employee has made a request for an accommodation, triggering the employer’s obligation to participate in the interactive process
  4. Employers may want to consider these requests with the same diligence as any other request for accommodation, and if granted, review them on an ongoing basis to ensure that they accomplish the goal of better enabling the employee to perform all of his or her essential job functions.

Credit goes to Ogletree Deakins for sharing the article below that inspired my summary and adding to my ADA notes.

Ogletree Deakins wrote this article: “Can Your Employees Think on Their Feet? Analyzing the Standing Desk Trend Through the Lens of the ADA” located here



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