Federal Court Strikes Blow Against Categorical Denials of Online Teaching Accommodations

Prof. Katherine Macfarlane and I have a new piece up on the Harvard Law Petrie-Flom Bill of Health blog that discusses the recent successful federal lawsuit by Kutztown University professor Stephen Oross who litigated (and indeed, won on summary judgment) against his employer for prohibiting all online teaching accommodations. Here is an excerpt of our analysis:

“According to the court, the considerable number of online courses offered by the university and previously taught by Oross contradicted the university’s claims that in-person teaching was an essential aspect of his work. Nor did the university submit any evidence that online teaching lessened instructional quality. The court also rejected any consideration of student preferences for in-person classes, which “do not qualify as an undue burden” under the Rehabilitation Act that would excuse the university from providing Oross with an accommodation permitting him to teach remotely. In-person teaching and in-person office hours were not essential functions of Oross’s job.”

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