Untangling Interplay Between ADA, FMLA & Workers' Compensation


October 03, 2019


Dr. Susan Strauss

  1:00 PM ET | 12:00 PM CT | 10:00 AM PT | 90 Minutes

* Not able to attend the live session? We can arrange an on-demand session for You. Please call 1-‪814-892-0304

This program has been approved for 1.5 PDCs toward SHRM certification hours.
The program is pre-approved for 1.5 credit hour under HRCI


Challenges - It’s confusing isn’t it?  How are we supposed to keep it all straight when there are times when the legal requirements of both Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the American Disabilities Act Amendment Act (ADAAA) are similar, yet at other times one law contradicts another? It took decades for the workplace to acknowledge the dangers of smoking; fragrance sensitivity is following the same trajectory. It will further discuss developing a workplace fragrance sensitivity policy and recent significant fragrance sensitivity cases. We find that we can’t comply with both laws at the same time, so which one takes precedence over the other?  And where does Worker’s Compensation (WC) come in? To complicate matters even more, WC is a state law, while FMLA and ADAAA are federal laws, and there are other state civil rights laws that also impact FMLA and the ADAAA. Consider that an injury under WC may also be a “serious health condition” under FMLA. State laws may differ from federal laws by covering additional health conditions, may apply to small organizations, or may cover situations in which the federal laws have no say such as domestic abuse.

As HR, we have the responsibility of sifting through these laws to ensure that we comply with each law that provides the best benefit to our employees. These laws provide entitlements to our employees which means they are not considered an optional benefit. So, even if you fail to apply the law to your employee,  they can claim protection anyway. For example, if you fail to provide appropriate leave under FMLA, that does not remove the employee’s right to a job-protected leave. The ultimate goal of all three laws is to assist the employee to return to work.

Financial – Costs related to absenteeism, turnover, liability based on civil rights laws, costs related to investigations.

Why Should You Attend:

  • To review the intricacies of  how WC, ADAAA, and WC intersect to provide employees’ coverage under these acts
  • To discuss the challenges in terminating an employee after they have expended their FMLA benefits without ignoring their rights through the ADAAA or state laws
  • To identify steps to follow when an employee fails to provide the requested and required medical certification
  • To explain the process in responding to an intermittent leave request that may include a potential ADAAA accommodation
  • To describe essential documentation guidelines to prevent liability
  • To outline best practices when conducting the legally required interactive process when determining an accommodation
  • To clarify a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities based on the ADAAA
  • To discuss the criteria for essential job functions 
  • To determine if and why you need a second or third medical opinion
  • To judge WC/ADAAA light duty restrictions while  keeping FMLA intermittent and reduced scheduled leave viable

Who Will Benefit:

  • VP of HR
  • All HR directors, managers, and generalists
  • Supervisors
  • Managers
  • Director of Risk Management

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