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    Understanding the Interplay of FMLA and ADA when Dealing with Employee Absenteeism

    Speaker: Rebecca Jacobs
    Recorded Session

    Duration: 75 Minutes
    Product Code: 600903
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Depending on their size, employers must comply with two important federal laws when they are dealing with employee absenteeism. The Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended covers businesses with at least 15 employees. Under the ADA, a leave of absence may be a reasonable accommodation depending upon the circumstances. Employers with at least 50 employees must also comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act, which provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for eligible employees. This webinar will cover an employer’s obligations under these laws, how the laws overlap and diverge in their application, and the different avenues available under each law by which to substantiate the need for leave. We will also cover how these laws sometimes work together to provide more leave than an employer would otherwise expect.

  • Understand the basic eligibility requirements of both ADA and FMLA
  • Understand which reasons for leave and conditions are protected by ADA and by FMLA and what the distinction is between the two
  • Explore which conditions may be covered only by FMLA
  • Understand the difference between FMLA and ADA concerning how employers may substantiate an employee’s need for leave
  • Cover the limits upon the extent of leave imposed by the federal laws and federal courts
  • Discuss the potential consequences and liability for failing to comply with either law

Employers must be familiar with the requirements and restrictions imposed by each law so that they avoid costly mistakes. If an employer violates either law when administering employee leaves, it could result in costly litigation and attorney fees.

  • Which employers are covered by FMLA and ADA?
  • When an employee’s rights under FMLA and ADA begin, whether at the outset of employment or after reaching specific eligibility requirements?
  • Which employees are eligible for leave under the FMLA?
  • Which health conditions are considered “serious health conditions” such that an eligible employee could take protected leave under FMLA?
  • Which employees are eligible for leave under the ADA?
  • How an employee satisfies the definition of being a qualified individual with a disability under the ADA?
  • When a leave of absence is a reasonable accommodation under the ADA?
  • How the definition of disability under the ADA is different from a “serious health condition” under the FMLA?
  • Which conditions could be covered by both laws?
  • Which conditions would only be covered by ADA?
  • Which conditions would only be covered by FMLA?
  • The different methods for substantiating an employee’s need for leave under FMLA and ADA
  • Certification process under FMLA
  • Obtaining medical information under ADA
  • What limits the courts are starting to place on indefinite leaves of absence under the ADA?
  • What factors could lead to a finding that a leave of absence constitutes an undue hardship on an employer?
  • Whether qualified individuals with disabilities are automatically entitled to leave under the FMLA?
  • Under which circumstances the ADA may require additional leave for employees who have exhausted their 12-week entitlement under FMLA 
  • Potential damages for violating FMLA and/or ADA

  • Human Resources (CHRO, Vice President, Director, Coordinator, Generalist)
  • Leave administrator or coordinator
  • Benefits specialist
  • General manager or plant manager
  • Business owner, for smaller companies

Rebecca Jacobs is a training consultant and employment law attorney. Her firm Rebecca Jacobs LLC provides customized and interactive employee training on multiple topics, including sexual harassment prevention and bystander intervention. She also conducts training on preventing discrimination, classifying independent contractors properly, and complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Her employment law counseling work includes preparing employee handbooks and reviewing non-compete agreements.

Ms. Jacobs received her Juris Doctorate from Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1997 and worked in private practice for many years. She litigated employment law cases in state and federal court and provided counseling for her clients. She still practices law in Ohio and is licensed (but inactive) in California. She is an adjunct lecturer for the Department of Management and Human Resources at Ohio State University's Max M. Fisher College of Business. She teaches Contemporary Employment Practices and the Law I and II to graduate students.

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