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  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
  • The HR LAW Weekly
  • The HR Weekly


Flu season is here! FMLA, ADA and objections to vaccines

Influenza season is well underway, and there is every indication that the flu bug will bite lots of workers this winter. Many will need time off to recover. That raises two important questions: Is that leave protected by the FMLA? Can employees lawfully refuse to get flu shots?

You can’t accommodate every disability

A consensus on possible and practical accommodations usually emerges when the employer and employee engage in an interactive process to explore various options. But that isn’t always the case.

Transient injuries don’t usually trigger ADA

In order to claim coverage under the ADA, a worker must show that he has a “physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” Generally, most temporary conditions don’t qualify, even though they may be considered serious health conditions under the FMLA.

Report: HR, hiring managers need disability training

A new report on workplace disability inclusion found many HR professionals and hiring managers are ill-prepared to hire, retain or advance individuals with disabilities.

Note refusal to cooperate in ADA process

When a disabled worker needs an accommodation, the process is supposed to be interactive, with give-and-take discussions over what’s an appropriate and reasonable accommodation. If an employee won’t cooperate, carefully document her refusal.

Finite leave may be valid accommodation

It’s a difficult problem: A new employee hasn’t yet earned any leave but needs to take time off for a disability-related reason. It’s a mistake to automatically terminate such an employee. Slow down.

Hiring doesn’t end accommodation process

The obligation to accommodate disabled job applicants is ongoing, throughout the employee’s tenure on the job. That’s the lesson recently learned by an employer that should have known better.

Begin interactive accommodations process as soon as employee tells you about disability

When confronted with an accommodation request you believe is based on a valid disability, do what you can to help. Otherwise, you may face a lawsuit, especially if the worker feels threatened or punished for his requests or is terminated.

Don’t delay: Act on termination decision ASAP

When you have good reason to fire a worker, it makes little sense to put off acting on your decision. That’s especially true if it’s for poor performance. Otherwise, if the employee’s work improves in the interim and he has decided to complain about discrimination, your subsequent termination may look like retaliation.

Understand interplay between FMLA, ADA when employee must care for family member

Employees may have the right to take time off to care for a disabled family member under the FMLA, but the same isn’t true under the ADA for a request for reasonable accommodations of time off to care for the same family member.