Category Archives: ADA

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Can We Lawfully Terminate an Employee After He Submits a Vague Doctor's Note Seeking an Extension of Leave? In a Word, Yes.

An employee’s 12 weeks of FMLA leave has exhausted, and over the past several weeks, he’s provided you a series of vague doctor’s notes typically containing nothing more than a one-liner extending his medical leave of absence until his next appointment. Sound familiar? Makes you want to scream, right? What if I told you that, instead … Continue Reading

Disclosing an Employee's Medical Condition May Result in an Automatic FMLA Violation

This is a story about Scott. He has a medical condition affecting his genito-urinary system. In the words of my two-year old, Maggie, this condition sounds yucky. Like other employees with a genito-urinary disorder, Scott didn’t want his medical condition broadcast. To. Anyone. In requesting FMLA leave for his condition, Scott submitted medical certification containing “sensitive … Continue Reading

Does an FMLA Leave Request Double as a Request for a Reasonable Accommodation? Should Employers Care?

There is a hot debate brewing over the tantalizing question, “Does a request for FMLA leave also constitute a request for a reasonable accommodation under the ADA?” The worlds of FMLA and ADA clash! Surely, this question ranks up there with life’s unanswered questions.  You know, questions like: When does it stop being partly cloudy and … Continue Reading

Handling Intermittent, Unpredictable Leave Requests after FMLA Ends: Additional Analysis of My Webinar with EEOC Commissioner Feldblum (Part II)

Thanks again to those who attended my June 23 webinar with EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum on the topic of “leave” as an ADA reasonable accommodation in light of the EEOC’s new technical resource issued on this topic in early May 2016. If you missed the program, you can access the webinar and materials here. This is the second … Continue Reading

Managing Repeated Requests for Leave as an ADA Reasonable Accommodation: Takeaways from My Webinar with EEOC Commissioner Feldblum (Part I)

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of conducting a webinar with EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum on the topic of “leave” as an ADA reasonable accommodation in light of the EEOC’s new technical resource issued on this topic in early May 2016. If you missed the program, you can access the webinar and materials here. In addition … Continue Reading

Join EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum and me for a Webinar on the EEOC's New Resource on Leave as an ADA Reasonable Accommodation

When: Thursday, June 23, 2016 (12:30 – 1:45 p.m. CDT) Online registration: Click here This is going to be fun! Earlier this month, the EEOC issued a technical assistance resource on leave as an ADA reasonable accommodation under the ADA. I am delighted that EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum will join me for a webinar to take a … Continue Reading

EEOC Issues New Resource Document Addressing Leave as a Reasonable Accommodation under the ADA. What's the Impact on Employers?

For years, employers across America have been clamoring for guidance from the EEOC about how they should manage an employee’s request for extended or intermittent leave from work and how much leave is considered as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. This week, employers received an answer. Well, kind of. Yesterday, the EEOC issued a resource document — … Continue Reading

An Employee's "Hope" That She'll Return to Work Isn't Enough to Require Additional Leave under the ADA

One of the most difficult issues an HR professional or in-house employment counsel faces is how to deal with an employee who cannot return to work after FMLA leave expires. Is additional leave beyond 12 weeks required? The answer is almost always ‘yes.’ But how much leave are we obligated to provide? And what if the employee … Continue Reading

Best Practices for Employers from my Webinar on FMLA and ADA Overlap Issues (and a Link to our Recording!)

Thanks to those who attended my webinar last week on FMLA and ADA Overlap Issues.  If you missed the program, you can access the webinar here.  Our PowerPoint from the webinar can be downloaded here (pdf). In a mere hour plus, Sara Elder, (Division Vice President, Fair Employment & Compliance, for Sears Holdings Management Corporation) Matt Morris … Continue Reading

Join Me for a Complimentary Webinar: "Where ADA and FMLA Overlap: Leaves, Accommodations and Headaches, Oh My!"

It’s Webinar Time! When managing an employee with a medical condition, the issues involved regularly implicate the FMLA or ADA — or both. Using interactive case studies, we will address critical FMLA and ADA compliance considerations when dealing with the most difficult employee leave and accommodation scenarios. Please join us on Thursday, November 12 (12:00 – … Continue Reading

Requiring an Employee to Return from FMLA Leave "Without Restrictions" or "Fully Healed" Is Playing with Fire

Do you know what happens when you maintain a policy or practice that requires an employee to return to work without restrictions or “100% healed”?  You pay.  A lot. Just ask Brookdale Senior Living Communities. Brookdale employed Bernadine, who suffered from fibromyalgia. According to the EEOC, Brookdale refused Bernadine’s accommodation requests for a temporary modified work schedule, an ergonomic … Continue Reading

DOL and EEOC Explain How They Will Approach FMLA and Reasonable Accommodation Enforcement

This week, I had the pleasure of presenting with Department of Labor and EEOC officials on key developments out of Washington with respect to leave management and accommodations.  Our presentation was part of the annual conference of the Disability Management Employer Coalition. If you’re an employer and not a member of DMEC, you’re doing yourself a disservice.  Find out more … Continue Reading

FMLA FAQ: Must an Employer Provide Intermittent FMLA Leave So An Employee Can Attend to an Autistic Child?

Q:  One of our employees, a front desk receptionist, maintains an erratic work schedule because she must attend to her autistic son.  In short, her son throws a tantrum at school if his mom does not personally drop him off and pick him up from school.  For instance, he hides under a table, refuses to participate, and becomes very aggressive … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Gives Pregnant Employees a Path Toward Securing Workplace Accommodations

All across America this morning, pregnant employees are screaming out in muted shouts of joy and giving each other belly bumps. Last year, I reported on the EEOC’s recent pregnancy discrimination guidance, which interpreted the Pregnancy Discrimination Act as requiring workplace accommodations for pregnant employees even if impairments suffered during pregnancy do not rise to the level of a … Continue Reading

EEOC Regional Attorney John Hendrickson Offers Key Insights on EEOC's Pregnancy Discrimination Guidance

Last week, I had the pleasure of presenting with EEOC Regional Attorney in the Chicago District John Hendrickson on the EEOC’s recently drafted Pregnancy Discrimination Enforcement Guidance and how these guidelines will impact the manner in which employers will be required to provide accommodations to its pregnant employees.  The session was part of my law firm’s … Continue Reading

Employer Fails to Provide Leave of Absence to Probationary Employee, Pays the Price

Adam was a maintenance technician for EZEFLOW, a company which manufactures pipe fittings.  He also was a marine corps veteran who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Upon his discharge from the marines, Adam started his employment with EZEFLOW and quickly began experiencing seizures later determined to be caused by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Adam … Continue Reading

FMLA Leave for Headache Effectively Converts Full-Time Position into Part-Time Position; Employers' Shrieks Heard Across the Country

This one is a real headache. Sam oversees a storage area for the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) and during certain times of the year, his position requires a fairly extensive amount of overtime. For years, Sam has suffered from “cluster headaches,” which are far worse than migraines and can last for days.  Sam’s physician … Continue Reading

Don't Be Tripped Up by Light Duty Obligations under the FMLA and ADA: A Discussion of Employer Best Practices

Earlier this week, I had the privilege of presenting on the FMLA and ADA reasonable accommodations at CUPA-HR‘s annual conference with my friend, Stan Kulesa from The Standard. We spent much of our time discussing the delicate topic of light duty and how it intersects with — and creates employer obligations under — both the … Continue Reading

New EEOC Guidance Expands Protections and Requires Accommodations for Pregnant Employees (and Reaffirms Rights for Dads, Too!)

Earlier this week, the EEOC issued new enforcement guidance on pregnancy discrimination, warning employers of their obligation to provide pregnant employees reasonable accommodations in the workplace and giving employers insight into how the EEOC will enforce pregnancy-related issues under Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) in the future. As expected, the guidance confirms that the EEOC will broadly interpret when … Continue Reading

Does an Employer Have an Obligation to Provide Accommodations to Pregnant Employees? Don't Follow This Employer's Lead

Ena Wages served as a property manager for one of several apartment complexes owned by Stuart Management Corp.  She began her employment on November 17, 2008, and this is significant under the FMLA because nearly one year later, on November 13, 2009, Ena’s physician restricted the number hours she could work as a result of … Continue Reading

Are Inflexible Leave Policies Lawful After All? One Court Leaves Employers Salivating

When it comes to leave as a reasonable accommodation after FMLA leave is exhausted, employers have been conditioned to simply believe: inflexible leave policies bad, flexible leave policies good.  In fact, many of us have become so good at this conditioning it would make Ivan Pavlov proud [you know, the guy who conditioned his dog to … Continue Reading

Employer Can Seek Second Opinion After Doctor Finds Employee Fit to Return From FMLA Leave

On a number of occasions, we have discussed whether an employer can keep an employee out on FMLA leave even though they want to return, or whether an employer can require an employee to undergo a full medical examination before returning from FMLA leave.  This scenario often arises where the employer has concerns about whether … Continue Reading
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