2021 ADA Virtual Master Class: Mastering ADA Fundamentals

November 17–18, 2021 | 12:00 p.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern each day | Virtual

Day 1: Mastering ADA Fundamentals

November 17, 2021
12:00 p.m. – 12:05 p.m.
Speaker Introductions and Opening Remarks
12:05 p.m. – 1:05 p.m.
Who’s Covered Under the ADA and Who’s Not?

As the courts continue to interpret the amended ADA and its regulations, their decisions can affect the policies and procedures you have for managing employees with disabilities, responding to requests for accommodation, and documenting the interactive process. But how can you know for sure when an employee is protected under the ADA? When does an employee’s impairment rise to the level of a disability? Does the ADA ever protect employees without disabilities?

We’ll cover:

• How to determine whether an employee is “qualified” under the ADA
• What kind of information you can ask for, and when
• Using an individualized assessment to determine whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity
• Actions that may create liability under the “regarded as” definition of disability
• When “routine” illnesses are likely to trigger your ADA compliance obligations
• How ADA protections apply for association-based issues and disability-related inquiries

1:05 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
BREAK
1:15 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Providing Reasonable Accommodation – What’s ‘Reasonable’?

Once you determine that an employee or job applicant has a disability, you need to figure out if there’s a reasonable accommodation that will work for you and the employee. But to what lengths must you go to provide reasonable accommodation? Do you have to provide the specific accommodation requested by the employee? How do you determine whether an accommodation is an undue hardship? In this session, you’ll learn how to:

• Determine whether an accommodation is reasonable
• Apply recent court decisions on telecommuting, temporary transfers, and light-duty assignments
• Gauge when you have done enough
• Determine the financial commitment contemplated under the law
• Train supervisors to spot when performance issues may signal a need for an accommodation

1:45 p.m.– 2:15 p.m.
The Interactive Process: From Request to Resolution

Once you are aware of an employee’s disability and the possible need for reasonable accommodation, you have a duty to engage in the interactive process with that employee to determine any possible reasonable accommodations. In this session, you will learn:

• When the process should begin
• Who should be involved in the discussions
• What kinds of information you need for the analysis
• Duty of good-faith participation
• GINA and HIPAA factors to consider
• How to document your efforts

2:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
BREAK
2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Practical Solutions to Complex Problems

Handling performance and conduct issues, absenteeism and tardiness, and other complex workplace problems is challenging enough, but when you add in the ADA’s requirements, it can leave you wondering what to do first. This session covers:

• Requiring covered employees to meet performance or attendance expectations
• Substance and alcohol abuse
• Perceived or “regarded as” having a disability
• Chronic illnesses

3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Navigating Through the ADA, FMLA, and Workers’ Compensation Maze

The overlap and varying requirements of these laws can make it difficult to determine an employee’s rights and an employer’s obligations. So, how do you handle health conditions that are covered under two or all three of these laws? This session outlines the differences in the laws and explains how to analyze situations when two or more of these laws interact. Employers also must consider applicable state laws which often have broader protection for employees and cover smaller employers. This session will help with:

• Determining if any or all of the laws apply and juggling conflicting requirements
• Walking through the practical differences

  • Light duty
  • What you can and can’t ask when making medical inquiries
  • When you may require fitness-for-duty medical exams
  • How to ensure confidentiality under HIPAA, GINA, and other laws
    • Handling employee absences and requests for extended leave
    • Handling return-to-work issues, including medical restrictions and disability leaves
3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Q&A

Use this opportunity to pose your lingering questions about the information covered in today's training. Take advantage of this chance to get clarification and custom-tailored advice from the attorneys.

Day 2: Intensive Workshop Addressing the Real-Life Application of the ADA, EEOC Regulations and Guidance, and Court Decisions

November 18, 2021
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Response Strategies – Dealing with Mistakes, Avoiding Retaliation, and Mastering Your Defense of Claims

So, despite your best efforts, you think your company may have made a mistake. What do you do now? In this session, you’ll learn some of the available options to help clean up any messes, and what you can do to prevent them in the future. We’ll explore:

• What do you do if your company has messed up? How far should you go to avoid litigation?
• How retaliation claims under the ADA may arise—and employer actions that in most cases are likely to be deemed retaliatory
• Best practices for responding to EEOC charges
• Tips on how to draft and update policies, records, training, and documentation protocols to improve your defenses to ADA claims

1:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
BREAK
1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Special COVID-19 Supplement

This section covers actions employers can take during a pandemic to help keep the workplace safe for employees while staying in compliance with the ADA. You will learn:

• How to safely manage the hiring process while complying with the ADA
• What kinds of disability-related questions you can and can’t ask applicants and employees
• How a pandemic may affect your response to requests for reasonable accommodation

2:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
BREAK
2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Interactive Hypotheticals

During this highly interactive portion of the ADA Master Class, our faculty of employment attorneys will walk you through a series of hypotheticals demonstrating the real-life ADA issues that challenge even the most seasoned HR practitioners. You’ll have the opportunity to discuss issues with your trainers and fellow attendees to determine the correct course of action to take, based on the facts presented and your knowledge of fundamental ADA compliance principles.

Recent court rulings, long-standing case law precedent, EEOC guidance and regulations—as well as the trainers’ own experiences in advising clients—are interwoven into this engaging afternoon workshop with the goal of providing you with insights and practical approaches to help you master the tricky ADA issues that come up in daily work life.

You’ll take an in-depth look at:

  1. Accommodations for long COVID-19 and how to handle:

• An employee’s requests for leave or an extension of leave
• The interactive process
• Medical documentation and HIPAA
• Telecommuting as a reasonable accommodation

  1. Light-duty and reassignment as accommodations

• What the ADA does and doesn’t require
• How to decide whether to continue light-duty status
• When a position is considered “vacant”

  1. Pregnancy-related disabilities

• When a pregnancy-related impairment may be a disability
• What’s required for accommodation
• How to avoid adverse employment actions

  1. Performance and conduct issues

• When a disability isn’t obvious, such as when an employee has bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety, depression, or another “unseen” psychiatric condition that may be a protected disability under the ADA
• Fitness-for-duty exams
• Applying performance standards and conduct rules in a way that minimizes legal risks
• Using the interactive process

  1. Return-to-work exams

• When employers can require return-to-work exams
• Job-relatedness and business necessity
• Evaluating the ability to perform essential functions

  1. Requests for accommodation

• Handling requests on an individualized basis
• Engaging in the interactive process
• What’s reasonable – and what’s not
• Emotional support/service animals

  1. Fragrance sensitivity

• Reasonable documentation of disability
• Functional limitation and performance of essential functions
• Reasonable accommodations

  1. No-fault attendance policies

• Exceptions for ADA accommodations
• Keeping sick employees home
• Accommodating sporadic, unpredictable absences

  1. Obesity • As a physical impairment
    • As a covered disability
    • Fitness for duty exams
    • Managing accommodation requests

  2. Workers’ compensation and ADA

• Overlapping coverage
• Interactive process and reasonable accommodation
• Avoiding liability for a “regarded as” disability

3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Q&A Session and Final Takeaways

This is your chance to ask any remaining questions you may have about the information covered in today's session. Take advantage of this opportunity to get clarification from the attorneys.

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