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  • Writer's pictureTom Fowler

Can a Person with a Disability Work in Iowa?

In the modern economy, workers must be flexible and adaptable to remain competitive. Working from home or remotely is becoming more common. The American Council on Workplace Solutions reported that remote work grew by 31 percent between 2014 and 2015.

There is an increasing recognition that people with disabilities are a valuable resource for potential employees. Individuals must have a disability that qualifies under the ADA and provide their employer with documentation proving such a disability exists.

Working from home or another location is a privilege reserved for employees who meet certain requirements and agree to specific conditions set forth by the company.

If they meet these preconditions, they can work from home in Iowa as an employee or contractor. What residents of this state should know about applying for and receiving disability benefits at work is detailed below.

What Is A Disability In Iowa?

What Is a Disability in Iowa?

ADA requires an individual to have a "disability" to work from home. A condition is a disability if it significantly limits an individual's ability to perform one or more of the essential functions of their job. The term disability isn't explicitly defined, but the courts and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have established a general rule of thumb.

In Iowa, a definition of impairment is a physical or mental disability that limits one or more significant life activities, a medical history of such impairment, or a condition that is likely to cause such a disability. Important life activities such as: caring for oneself, executing manual tasks, seeing, walking, speaking, hearing, breathing, working, and learning.

The impairments listed in the definition include physical disabilities such as blindness or paralysis and mental impairments such as mental illness, phobias, and other psychological conditions. Some of these conditions could qualify an employee for FMLA in the state of Iowa.

Furthermore, the law defines a disability as any condition that impairs the ability to work. Therefore, the state doesn't need to be life-threatening or even medically diagnosed to qualify. A situation that interferes with a person's ability to work is sufficient.

Laws Concerning Working from Home in Iowa

There are some exceptions to the ADA, including one that allows an employer to hire a worker to perform their job remotely. This exemption is subject to certain conditions.

However, employees must have a disability that prevents them from working in the employer's office. The employee also needs to be able to perform the essential functions of their job with or without reasonable accommodation.

The employer must also be able to show that the convenience of allowing the employee to work remotely outweighs any disadvantages created by their decision. Employers may not hire a remote worker only because other candidates are unavailable. Employers cannot use an ADA exception to avoid hiring qualified applicants.

Conditions Placed on Employees Working from Home

There are some conditions employers place on employees working from home - for example, the employer may require a remote worker to maintain a certain productivity level or be available during specific hours.

Workers who work remotely must complete their assigned tasks on time. Employers may also want remote workers to maintain a particular level of communication with their colleagues.

Employers Can Request an Accommodation to Be Made

An employer may use various methods to request accommodation, including a discussion or nonverbal cues. To make a request, it’s essential to understand that they don't need to write it down. If an employer hires an individual with a disability to work from home, they can request an accommodation.

The individual may request a different accommodation or refuse to accept the employer's recommendation. However, the best way to make the request is by documenting it in writing.

Employers should also remember that the employee doesn't have to agree to the accommodation. It simply means that the employer must come up with a different solution. In some cases, employers may try not to accommodate to the employee's disability, if this happens, it is smart to contact Des Moines work injury lawyers.

Employees Who Need Accommodation

Employees with Disabilities May Need a Reasonable Accommodation

Individuals with disabilities may need reasonable accommodation to perform their job. Employers are required to provide it to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Individuals may also qualify for workers compensation. Find out about AOE Coe and what it means in workers compensation.

Employers must explore all available resources before deciding on a course of action. The first thing employers should do is consult with the individual with the disability to determine what type of assistance they need. They should conduct an internal assessment before concluding that a particular accommodation is required.


When hiring remote workers with disabilities, Iowa employers should be mindful of the conditions listed above. Additionally, employers should thoroughly vet individuals they consider hiring to work from home.

Furthermore, this includes verifying that the individual has a disability and that they can perform the essential functions of their job despite their disability. Employers willing to take these steps can benefit from hiring individuals who would otherwise be unable to work.

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