Workplace Depression: Your ADA And FMLA Obligations Explained

Webinar: ID# 1001740
About This Course:
Medically speaking, "mental illness" describes a variety of disorders ranging from mild anxiety to more serious conditions, such as major depressive disorder, that significantly interfere with major life activities. Legally speaking, HR's obligation to provide leave or other accommodation depends on whether an employee's mental illness is a "serious health condition" or a "disability."

You're expected to sort through all the different definitions and standards to determine if you need to reasonably accommodate employees who fall into this ambiguous category.

Depression is extremely costly, both in terms of its effects on employees and the bottom line. The issue of reasonable accommodation is nothing new, but changes to ADA regulations have allowed more impairments to qualify as disabilities, and employees with depression also likely to be entitled to leave under FMLA.

HR now faces critical issues such as how to identify depression and other mental illnesses, how to reasonably accommodate, and how to manage employees who are in a fragile state without giving rise to a disability discrimination claim.

Learning how to respond to these situations is a vital part of keeping employees safe and productive-and keeping your organization free from legal entanglements!

Learning Objectives:
  • How to tell if a depressed employee has a disability as defined by the ADA
  • The EEOC's recent guidance on the role of mental health professionals in assessing accommodations
  • A game plan for handling an employee with depression who may be protected under the ADA
  • How speak with and employee about potential accommodations in a sensitive and confidential manner
  • Best practices for protecting your organization against "regarded as disabled" claims
  • How to tell if depression substantially limits an employee from performing one or more major life activities
  • When side effects from treatment of a separate underlying medical condition may become a "covered" disability
  • Dos and don'ts if you suspect an employee is suffering from depression and/or another mental disability
  • The medical inquires, limited examinations, and documentation you may legally request in support of a leave request
  • The limits of the "direct safety threat" defense, when declining to reasonably accommodate an employee with mental illness
  • Examples of when an LOA is a reasonable accommodation, and when extended leave must be considered
  • How to respond to erratic attendance, including when (and when NOT) to raise potential FMLA leave as an option
  • How to manage intermittent leave for episodic bouts of depression and curb potential FMLA abuse
  • When you may discipline or terminate an employee with depression
In just 90 minutes, you'll learn how to manage depression in the workplace in compliance with the ADA and FMLA.

About Your Presenter:

Attorney Patricia Eyres is the managing partner of Eyres Law Group, LLP, a specialized law practice focusing exclusively on helping employers in the areas of labor, employment, and education law. Her clients range from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses, school districts, and public agencies. In addition to guiding employers through the maze of risks associated with workplace discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims, she is an expert on return-to-work, reasonable accommodation, and leave of absence compliance.
Continuing Education Credits:

Click the 'Credits' tab above for information on PHR/SPHR, PDCs, and other CE credits offered by taking this course.
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