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An Employment Law Nightmare – Intersection of the ADA & the FMLA. ADA. Temp. Caregiver Ins. RIPFMLA. FMLA. Presented at the RIBA 2014 Annual Meeting by Roger W. Hood and Rachelle R. Green. Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA ”)¹.

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an employment law nightmare intersection of the ada the fmla
An Employment Law Nightmare – Intersection of the ADA & the FMLA

ADA

Temp. Caregiver Ins.

RIPFMLA

FMLA

Presented at the

RIBA 2014 Annual Meeting by

Roger W. Hood

and

Rachelle R. Green

family medical leave act fmla
Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”)¹
  • Basic Rule: Covered employersmust allow eligible employeesto take up to 12 weeksof job-protected leave in a 12-month periodto be used for certain qualifying events.²
  • Special rules apply to families of military service members or veterans, as well as airline flight crew employees.

FMLA

methods of calculating 12 month period
Methods of Calculating 12-month Period⁴
  • Employers may select one of four methods to calculate the 12-month period to be uniformly applied to all employees taking FMLA leave:
    • Calendar year: January 1 to December 31
    • Any fixed 12-months: fiscal year, year starting on employee’s anniversary of hire; or any other 12 month period
    • 12-months measured forward: measured from the first date an employee takes FMLA leave
    • “rolling” 12-months measured backward: each time an employee takes leave, the remaining leave would be the balance of the 12 weeks not used during the preceding 12 months

FMLA

fmla qualifying events
FMLA: “Qualifying Events”⁵
  • Birth of newborn child
  • Placement with employee of adopted or foster child
  • Leave to “care for” a serious health condition of employee’s spouse, child, or parent
  • Employee’s serious health condition
  • Event related to covered military service of employee’s family
    • “qualifying exigency” (12 weeks of leave)
    • military caregiver leave for service member or veteran’s serious illness or injury (26 weeks of leave)

FMLA

fmla serious health condition
FMLA: “Serious Health Condition”
  • Means: Illness, injury or physical or mental condition that involves either:
    • inpatient care; or
    • continuing treatment by a health care provider
  • Inpatient care includes an overnight stay at a hospital, hospice, or residential treatment facility.

FMLA

fmla qualifying family relationships
FMLA: Qualifying Family Relationships
  • Spouse: husband or wife, as determined by state law
  • Parent: biological, adoptive, or any person who assumed parental duties while employee was a child
  • Child: biological, adopted, foster, step, or legal ward if under 18 years old; also includes child under age 18 for whom employee has assumed parental duties, including financial support. If disabled, includes children over age 18.

FMLA

fmla duration of leave
FMLA: Duration of Leave
  • General Rule: Eligible employees may take up to 12 weeksof job-protected, unpaid leave during any 12-month period.
  • Intermittent leave may be taken for serious health condition if medically necessary (e.g. several days or hours per month for chemo or dialysis), but not for birth or adoption.⁶
  • FMLA leave is unpaid leave. Employer may require employee to substitute available paid leave for unpaid leave

FMLA

fmla prohibits retaliation for taking leave
FMLA: Prohibits Retaliation for Taking Leave¹³
  • Employer may not “interfere” with employee’s right to FMLA leave or terminate employee for taking FMLA leave.
  • Consider:
    • Timing of discipline
    • Treating employees who have taken FMLA leave differently
    • Failing to document discipline
  • Employees who cannot perform essential functions of their jobs at the end of FMLA are not entitled to job restoration. However, they may be entitled to additional leave as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.

FMLA

rhode island parental family medical leave act
Rhode Island Parental & Family Medical Leave Act¹⁴
  • Basic Rule: Covered employers must allow employees to take 13 consecutive work weeks of parental leave or family leave in any two calendar years.
  • If leave is covered by both FMLA and RIPFMLA, the leaves run concurrently unless otherwise provided in the employee handbook.
  • In the event of inconsistencies, the employer must apply the provision that is more beneficial to the employee.

RIPFMLA

federal vs ripfmla1
Federal vs. RIPFMLA

*But see: Windsor v. United States

**Rhode Island recognizes same sex spouses. See R.I. Gen. Law § 15-1-1.

rhode island temporary caregiver insurance tci 17
Rhode Island Temporary Caregiver Insurance (“TCI”)17
  • Effective January 1, 2014, Rhode Island employers must allow their employees four (4) weeks of time off per year to care for a family member with a serious medical illness or to bond with a child within the first 12 months of parenting.
  • Applies to all employers regardless of size.
  • Covers all employees regardless of how long they have worked for the employer.

TCI

rhode island temporary caregiver insurance tci
Rhode Island Temporary Caregiver Insurance (“TCI”)
  • During TCI leave, the employer does not pay salary, but employees receive temporary disability insurance payments from the state.
  • During TCI leave, the employer must continue to provide health insurance to enrolled employees, but the employee is responsible for its share of health insurance premiums (if any).
  • Employer has no right to request certification of the employee’s relationship to the ill family member or of the family member’s serious health condition. Employee provides documentation to the state.

TCI

americans with disabilities act ada 1 8
Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”)18
  • Basic Rule: an employer with 15 or more employees shall not discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability.
  • The ADA makes it unlawful to discriminate in all employment practices such as:
    • Recruitment
    • Hiring
    • Training
    • Job assignments and promotions
    • Pay and benefits
    • Leave
    • Termination
ada what is a disability
ADA: What is A Disability?
  • A person has “disability” if he or she has (1) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (2) a record of this impairment; or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment.¹⁹
  • Examples of major life activities include: standing, sitting, lifting, seeing, hearing, eating, caring for oneself, working, walking, reading, concentrating, performing manual tasks, or communicating.²⁰
ada substantially limiting
ADA: Substantially Limiting²¹

A person has “disability” if he or she has (1) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (2) a record of this impairment; or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment.

  • Ability to perform a major life activity is measured against the average person’s ability.
  • Corrective measures must not be considered, except for ordinary eye glasses and contact lenses.
  • Requires an individualized assessment:
    • nature and severity of the impairment
    • impairment’s permanent or long-term impact
    • transitory impairments are not covered, but episodic or in remission are covered
ada record of or regarded as disabled 22
ADA: “Record of” or “Regarded” as Disabled22

A person has “disability” if he or she has (1) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (2) a record of this impairment; or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment.¹

  • Record of impairment:
    • Document indicates an impairment that would substantially limit one or more major life activities.
    • Covers those with a history of having such an impairment.
  • “Regarded” as disabled is based on the perceptions of others.
ada who is qualified
ADA: Who is qualified?

Basic Rule: an employer with 15 or more employees shall not discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability.

  • An individual with a disability is considered qualified if the individual, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job held or desired.23
  • Reasonable accommodations to the known physical or mental limitations of a qualified employee or applicant with a disability must be made unless to do so would cause undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business.24
  • Undue hardshipincludes employer’s cost, onsite resources, overall resources, and nature of operations.25
ada reasonable accommodations
ADA: Reasonable Accommodations
  • Contemplates an Iterative Process
  • Types of Accommodations:
    • required in the employment process for qualified applicants
    • make it possible for employees with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the position held or desired
    • enable employees with disabilities to enjoy the benefits and privileges of employment that are equal to (rather than the same as) the benefits and privileges that are enjoyed by other employees
    • Time off from work (either a modified schedule or flexible leave policy) may be required as a reasonable accommodation.
ada prohibits discrimination retaliation
ADA: Prohibits Discrimination/Retaliation
  • Discrimination may include: denying employment opportunities to qualified individuals; failing to make reasonable accommodations for the individual’s known physical or mental limitations; and/or terminating an employee for requesting a reasonable accommodation.
  • Employees with disabilities may be disciplined like any other employee.
  • Employees with disabilities may not be disciplined if the employer has refused to provide a reasonable accommodation and the reason for unsatisfactory performance was the lack of accommodation.
  • Employees with disabilities may not be terminated for requesting a reasonable accommodation.
end notes
End Notes
  • 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq.
  • 29 U.S.C. § 2612.
  • 29 U.S.C. § 2611.
  • 29 C.F.R. § 825.200; see also U.S. Dep’t of Labor Fact Sheet No. 28H (available at http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs28h.pdf).
  • 29 U.S.C. § 2612.
  • 29 C.F.R. § 825.202.
  • 29 C.F.R. § 825.300.
  • 29 C.F.R. § 825.305.
  • 29 C.F.R. § 825.305.
  • 29 C.F.R. § 825.311.
  • 29 U.S.C. § 2614(a).
  • 29 U.S.C. § 2614(b).
  • 29 U.S.C. § 2615.
  • R.I. Gen. Laws § 28-48-1 et seq.
  • 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq.
  • R.I. Gen. Laws § 28-48-1 et seq.
  • R.I. Gen. Laws § 28-41-34.
  • 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.
  • 42 U.S.C. § 12111(5)(A).
  • 42 U.S.C. § 12102(1).
  • 29 U.S.C. § 1630.2(i).
  • 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(k)-(l).
  • 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(m).
  • 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(o).
  • 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(p).
an employment law nightmare intersection of the ada the fmla1
An Employment Law Nightmare – Intersection of the ADA & the FMLA

ADA

Temp. Caregiver Ins.

RIPFMLA

FMLA

Presented at the

RIBA 2014 Annual Meeting by

Roger W. Hood

and

Rachelle R. Green

slide26

YOU

FOR

YOUR

ATTENTION!

THANK

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