Managing employees with disabilities or serious medical conditions has long been a difficult area for employers.
Amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), as well as the enactment of state and local paid sick time laws across the country, have made this area even more challenging for HR professionals. As the number of suits filed by individuals and enforcement agencies continues to grow, the stakes have never been higher for employers to properly manage leaves of absence and disability accommodations. The attorneys at Skoler, Abbott & Presser provide counseling regarding requests for leaves, requests for reasonable accommodations, disability-related inquiries, return-to-work, and other related issues to ensure compliance with the ADA, FMLA, and state workers’ compensation laws.
Our attorneys take a practical approach to leave of absence and accommodation issues. We offer employers of all sizes the guidance that they need about their obligation to offer leave as an accommodation, proper administration of leaves and accommodations, and any permissible limits on such leave.
Our attorneys have years of experience advising clients on:
- The FMLA
- The ADA
- The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”)
- State and local sick leave, family, medical, disability, and military leave laws
- Additional state leave laws (such as pregnancy, parental, jury duty, domestic violence, and crime victim leave laws)
- The permitted scope of disability-related inquiries at various stages of employment
- Proper tracking and documentation of employee leave usage
- Notice and interactive process obligations
- Fitness for duty analyses and medical certifications
- Approaches to end-of-leave situations
- Disciplinary decisions about employees on leave or with medical conditions that may be impacting attendance and/or performance
- Outsourcing leave administration
- Interplay between the FMLA, ADA, workers’ compensation laws, privacy restrictions under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”), and other laws
- The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”)
- Employee benefit plans (such as short-term and long-term disability plans)
- Employee wellness programs
We offer employers all of the following services:
- Reviewing and updating leave of absence, sick time, attendance, and accommodation policies
- Providing advice on compliance with the current law
- Assisting employers to develop and implement internal procedures for FMLA and/or ADA compliance
- Assisting employers with the interactive process under the ADA and related state laws
- Guiding employers through unique leave of absence problems
- Auditing existing policies and procedures to identify and remedy potential exposure
- Training HR professionals about the challenging and frequently-changing requirements under leave and accommodation laws
- Representing clients against administrative agency claims and court litigation brought by individuals and/or an administrative agency
Our attorneys also have extensive experience defending employers against legal challenges to leave of absence and disability-related employment decisions.