On February 17, 2023, Senate Bill 731 by Sen. Angelique Ashby (D-Sacramento) was introduced to prohibit discriminatory employment practices in certain work from home situations. SB 731 would add Government Code Section 12940.2. Current state law, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), prohibits an employer from discriminating against employee based upon specified characteristics.
SB 731 would define the term “qualifying disability,” essentially when an employee’s doctor has determined that the employee has a disability that significantly impacts their ability to work outside their home. In such a case, the employee could begin a renewed reasonable accommodation request to perform their work remotely specified requirements are met.
If those three requirements are met, then the employer must grant the renewed request. However, the employer is not required to provide remote work as a reasonable accommodation under this section if the employee can no longer perform all of their essential job functions remotely.
If the employer denies a renewed request, the employer is required to provide written notice with the reasons for denial within 30 days, and then provide the employee 30 days’ notice to report back to work in-person.
Finally, SB 731 allows the employer to request written notice from the employee’s medical provider to determine if the employee has a qualifying disability.
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