NYSIF determined it would also be a hardship to the agency if Ellen Kurzdorfer, who has permanent hip and back injuries, continued to work from home.

The bigger hardship, Kurzdorfer maintains, would be if she were to retire instead in the wake of her RA denial.

“They think I’m causing an undue hardship by asking to stay on and work from home,” she said. “I’m going to create a hardship by retiring. I started in 1990. I have been through all phases of the State Insurance Fund, from when we weren’t even on computers yet. There are so few veteran case managers left.

“It’s crazy,” she said. “I have more than 750 cases since people in our unit retired. If I go, there will only be two people left and they would have to divide that and add it to their caseloads. You would think they would want to keep someone with my years of service and experience.”

She is as confused and upset as fellow members about the agency’s insistence on returning to the office when telework has been effective.

“Productivity has increased,” she said. “People don’t call in and there is less absenteeism. We’ve been doing it for a year and a half and there has been no hardship.”