3 Days $1,470
2 Days $1,070
1 Day $640
This course walks attendees through everything you need to know about disability law: who is covered by disability laws and the different types of claims that can be raised, how agencies should respond to requests for reasonable accommodations, with a discussion of ways to effectively accommodate mental disabilities in the workplace, and how to address performance and conduct issues where the employee has requested or has a reasonable accommodation. The course will also focus on the most often-requested accommodations, leave and telework, and what obligations agencies have and best practices for responding to those requests, when medical documentation is needed to respond to reasonable accommodation requests, fitness-for-duty examinations and direct threat analysis, and the importance of confidentiality of medical documentation.
Day 1 - Monday, April 20, 2020
- Post-ADAAA: Who Is and Isn’t Covered Under the Amendments Act: The ADA Amendments Act of 2009 greatly expanded the definition of who is considered an individual with a disability. The week will kick-off with covering the revised regulations that define who is covered, as well as a discussion as to who is not covered by the Rehabilitation Act, as amended.
- How to Conduct an Accurate Assessment of Essential Functions in Order to Respond to a Reasonable Accommodation Request: Employers run into issues when they only rely on the position description or a one-sided view of what the actual job duties of an employee entail. This segment will discuss best practices for determining, and documenting, what these essential functions are, as well as what would be considered marginal job functions, in order to respond to a request for accommodation.
- When You Can (And When You Need To) Request Medical Documentation: Not every request for accommodation requires medical documentation in order to respond, and agencies often run into issues by focusing on getting just one more letter from a medical care provider, when the agency has what it needs to respond on file. This session will cover when, and when not, to request medical documentation and how best to limit requests to avoid liability.
- Thinking Outside the Box: Creative Approaches to Responding to Reasonable Accommodation Requests: Employees are entitled to effective accommodations, not the accommodations of choice. Learn how to creatively approach requests for accommodations such that both sides achieve their goals, including some low-cost accommodations you may not have thought of.
- Accommodating Hidden Versus Obvious Disabilities: Some disabilities are obvious and the accompanying accommodations will also be obvious (for example, an employee in a wheelchair who requires a ramp to obtain access to the workplace). These types of accommodations require less in terms of medical documentation and analysis and employers should ensure not to overstep in terms of requesting documentation. However, some disabilities are hidden, or not as obvious, and the accompanying accommodations may be less obvious. This session will discuss best approaches to responding to these types of need for accommodations.
- Telework As A Reasonable Accommodation: Telework, whether full-time, part-time, or situational, continues to be requested with great frequency by employees with disabilities. Learn how to best respond to these requests, when telework can work as an accommodation, considering trial periods to gauge performance, and reframing how essential job functions can be performed virtually.
Day 2 - Tuesday, April 21, 2020
- Reassignment: The Accommodation of Last Resort: Agencies must consider reassignment to another vacant, funded position if the employee cannot be accommodated in his or her position of record. Attendees will learn what obligations an agency has to search for other positions, how the applicable geographical area is defined, and how to document these attempts and communicate with the employee about these attempts.
- When An Employee Cannot Be Accommodated: Sometimes employees cannot perform the essential functions of their positions, even with accommodation, and the agency must consider removal from the position where reassignment is not an option. This segment will cover best practices for agencies in taking such actions such that they can be defended if challenged by the employee, and how to approach these situations with appropriate compassion.
- Managing Performance and Conduct Issues with Employees with Disabilities: Managers often struggle with how to appropriately address performance and/or conduct issues with employees who have requested reasonable accommodation, or may even require accommodation that they have not requested. This session will discuss how best to supervise these employees, while not giving rise to a claim of retaliation.
- Appropriately Handling Employees Who Pose Direct Threats in the Workplace This session will cover how to lawfully address concerns that an employee poses direct threats in the workplace, including ensuring that any medical inquiries are job-related and consistent with business necessity.
- Regarded As, Record Of, and Association With Individuals With Disabilities: These lesser-utilized case theories provide standing to employees who are regarded as disabled by their employer, regardless of whether they actually are, who have a record of a disability, or who face discrimination because of their association with an individual with a disability. This portion will cover these case theories and how they can be successfully asserted.
- Latest Case Law on Disability Discrimination Cases: This segment will cover the latest decisions from the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations and relevant Court of Appeals and District Court decisions that shape the developments in disability law.
Day 3 – Wednesday, April 22, 2020
- When You Can Request Medical Information at Different Stages of Employment: The types of medical information an employer can lawfully request and receive differs depending on the stage of employment: application-stage, conditional offer of employment, post-employment. This session will explain these different stages and how agencies can avoid making unlawful medical inquiries.
- Confidentiality of Medical Information: What You Can and Can’t Reveal: A common pitfall agencies run into is improperly disclosing, whether with mal intent or not, information about an employee’s medical condition. This segment will discuss who has a need to know information, and best practices for communicating limitations while not disclosing underlying medical conditions.
- Best Practices for Storing Medical Information: This section will cover how medical documentation must be kept in a specific manner and failure to do so can lead to monetary remedies to the employee, regardless of whether he or she has a disability under the Rehabilitation Act.
- Other Theories of Disability Discrimination: Harassment, Disparate Treatment, Disparate Impact, Retaliation for Requesting Reasonable Accommodation: Although claims of failure to provide reasonable accommodation are the most common type of disability claim, there are other theories on which discrimination can be asserted. This segment will discuss the burdens of proof for employees to raise claims of harassment, disparate treatment, disparate impact, as well as retaliation where the protected activity was requesting reasonable accommodation.
- Remedies Available to Successful Complainants Under Disability Claims: This session will discuss the remedies available to complainants who prevail on claims of disability discrimination, key information for any practitioner who assists agencies in responding to claims, or defending against them, to know. Discussion of how best to differentiate between claims that an agency caused a medical condition, versus created an exacerbation of a medical condition, will be included.
- How to Establish a Good Faith Defense to a Claim of Failure to Accommodate: Employers can avoid being liable for claims of compensatory damages even if the employee establishes that the agency did not provide an accommodation, if the employer can demonstrate that it attempted in good faith to provide an accommodation. This session will cover what is needed in order to properly document and establish such a defense, including an overview of the applicable case law.
- Key Considerations in Preparing to Litigate and Litigation Claims of Disability Discrimination: This session will cover best practices in preparing to litigate and litigating claims that an agency failed to provide reasonable accommodation, including key information to request in discovery, including appropriate requests for medical records and claims for damages, how to conduct a deposition and question witnesses where disabilities are involved, and considering whether expert testimony is required.
*Each day includes a one-hour on-your-own lunch break.