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© 2004 Texas Southern University1 Texas Southern University Employee Education and Awareness Training Legal Essentials for Supervisors The Family Medical Leave Act and Americans with Disabilities Act
© 2004 Texas Southern University2 DISCLAIMER The Texas Southern University Office of General Counsel has published this training module for general information and use by University employees only. The pages are not intended to provide legal advice for any particular situation. Legal advice can be provided only in the course of an attorney-client relationship with reference to all the facts of a specific situation. Accordingly, this information must not be relied on as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed attorney.
© 2004 Texas Southern University3 The Family and Medical Leave Act What is the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)? A federal law that entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job- protected leave within a 12-month period for specified family and medical reasons.
© 2004 Texas Southern University4 The Family and Medical Leave Act Employers must grant up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons: The birth and care of the newborn child of the employee Placement with the employee of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care To care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition, or To take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition
© 2004 Texas Southern University5 The Family and Medical Leave Act Employees seeking to use FMLA leave should provide thirty (30) days advance notice of the need to take the leave when possible Under some circumstances, employees may take FMLA leave intermittently, which means taking leave in blocks of time, or by reducing their normal weekly or daily work schedule.
© 2004 Texas Southern University6 The Family and Medical Leave Act Covered employers must maintain group health insurance coverage for an employee on FMLA leave whenever such insurance was provided before the leave was taken and on the same terms as if the employee had continued to work. If applicable, arrangements will need to be made for employees to pay their share of health insurance premiums while on leave.
© 2004 Texas Southern University7 The Family and Medical Leave Act Upon return from FMLA leave, an employee must be restored to the his or her original job, or to an equivalent job with equivalent pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment. Under specified and limited circumstances where restoration to employment will cause substantial and grievous economic injury to its operations, an employer may refuse to reinstate certain highly- paid "key" employees after using FMLA leave.
© 2004 Texas Southern University8 The Americans with Disabilities Act What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? The ADA is a federal civil rights statute that prohibits discrimination against “qualified individuals with disabilities”
© 2004 Texas Southern University9 The Americans with Disabilities Act The ADA requires equal opportunities for qualified individuals with disabilities An individual is considered to have a "disability" if he or she: has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, or has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having such impairment
© 2004 Texas Southern University10 The Americans with Disabilities Act An employer is required to make a “reasonable accommodation” to qualified persons with disabilities and give them the opportunity to participate fully in all institutional programs and activities
© 2004 Texas Southern University11 The Americans with Disabilities Act Who is a qualified individual under the ADA? A person who meets the skill, experience, education, or other requirements of the employment position he or she holds or seeks, and who can perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodations
© 2004 Texas Southern University12 The Americans with Disabilities Act What is a a “reasonable accommodation”? A “reasonable accommodation” under the ADA is one that does not create an undue hardship on the organization providing the accommodation
© 2004 Texas Southern University13 The Americans with Disabilities Act What are the limitations on the obligation to make a reasonable accommodation? The disabled individual requiring the accommodation must be otherwise qualified, and the disability must be known to the employer The employer is not required to make an accommodation if it imposes "undue hardship" on the operation of the employer's business
© 2004 Texas Southern University14 Reasonable Accommodations under the ADA Making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities, for example installing handicap accessible ramps and doors flashing lights on alarms curb cuts Modifying a disabled employee’s work schedule
© 2004 Texas Southern University15 Reasonable Accommodations under the ADA Allowing longer lunches for doctor’s visits and working later on those days Allowing a diabetic employee to work a permanent instead of rotating shift Rearranging office furniture and equipment Adjusting exam or training materials Providing qualified readers or interpreters
© 2004 Texas Southern University16 What if an applicant or employee refuses to accept an accommodation? If a necessary and reasonable accommodation is refused, the individual may be considered not qualified under the ADA. Reasonable Accommodations under the ADA
© 2004 Texas Southern University17 Undue hardship under the ADA An An accommodation request creates “undue hardship” if it requires significant difficulty or expense or fundamentally alters the nature or operation of the business
© 2004 Texas Southern University18 Undue hardship: A case study A disabled employee requests that the temperature be raised to accommodate her disability; however, the higher temperature will make others in the office uncomfortable This requested accommodation may be disruptive if it makes other employees in the workplace uncomfortable Alternatives: Provide a space heater Place the employee in a room with a separate thermostat
© 2004 Texas Southern University19 Examples of employer liability under the ADA An employer arranges for employees to attend optional CPR training. A deaf employee wants to attend the training and asks for a sign language interpreter. The employer must provide reasonable accommodations so that the employee may attend the training If the employer fails to provide a sign interpreter, it may be liable even though the training is optional
© 2004 Texas Southern University20 Examples of employer liability under the ADA An employer contracts with a consulting firm to train employees. The training will be held at a hotel that is inaccessible to a handicapped employee. The employer is liable under the ADA. Contracting with a third party does not relieve the employer of the duty to provide a readily accessible location for use by an employee with a disability unless to do so would create an undue hardship.
© 2004 Texas Southern University21 ADA limitations on employers Employers may not ask job applicants about the existence, nature or severity of a disability Applicants may be asked about their ability to perform specific job functions Job offer may be conditioned on the results of a medical examination only if the examination is required for all new employees in similar jobs Medical examinations must be job-related and consistent with the employer's business needs
© 2004 Texas Southern University22 Exceptions to the ADA Employees and applicants who use illegal drugs are not covered by the ADA if an employer acts on the basis of such use Tests for illegal drugs are not subject to the ADA's restrictions on medical examinations Employers may hold illegal drug users and alcoholics to the same performance standards as other employees
© 2004 Texas Southern University23 ADA compliance at TSU The University has an ADA policy in effect. The policy: Applies to employees and students Creates a Campus Oversight Committee to oversee ADA compliance, and Addresses: Accessibility issues on campus ADA complaints and hearings
© 2004 Texas Southern University24 For more information Contact the University’s Employment Compliance Officer, Office of General Counsel, Hannah Hall, Suite 310, (713) 313-7950 Additional information is available online at the OGC website
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