Frank C. Morris, Jr., Member of the Firm, co-presents “Mental Health FMLA and ADA Issues: Preventing and Defending Claims,” a live CLE webinar hosted by Strafford.
This CLE webinar equips employment counsel with the tools to address current and emerging issues related to the increased focus on mental health in the post-pandemic workplace. Employees with mental health concerns can pursue remedies under the ADA and the FMLA. Therefore, counsel must understand the steps to minimize potential exposure as employees seek protection and be aware of trial strategies if disputes arise.
Awareness of employee mental health issues presents challenges for employers and their counsel, especially given the stressors accompanying the COVID-19 pandemic. Some estimate that 25 percent of those over 18 experience some mental health problems each year, and employees are requesting accommodations with increasing frequency. Mental health disabilities are broadly defined under the DSM-5 and even more broadly in some jurisdictions’ statutory definitions.
Employment counsel must proactively prepare clients for responding to ADA accommodation requests and FMLA leave of absence requests as employees begin returning to the workplace. Counsel should assist clients in designing and implementing policies and procedures that balance workplace concerns with the rights of employees experiencing mental health issues.
Even with the best-designed policies and carefully honed practices, litigation is often the ultimate reality. Employment trial counsel must educate the trier of fact on the nature and extent of mental disorders. Further, discovery and summary judgment strategies may eliminate the risks of trial.
The panelists discuss trial techniques specific to mental health claims, including jury education, new summary judgment strategies, experts, and causation issues.
- What mental and emotional conditions does the ADA now cover?
- What are the steps for employers in an interactive process for investigating reasonable accommodations? Is cost a consideration?
- When does the direct threat defense apply?
- How do the ADA and FMLA overlap and interact where an employee has a mental disability?
- How must counsel communicate with juries regarding mental health claims to include diagnoses and qualifications as a disability?
- What are effective summary judgment and trial strategies? When and how to use expert testimony?
- How do the recent developments with causation apply to mental/intellectual disability claims?
For more information, please visit StraffordPub.com.