CAI hosted its annual Triad Employment Law Update at the Koury Center in Greensboro on November 9. More than 150 HR professionals and company executives attended the conference to receive important updates on the latest developments in state and federal employment laws and regulations.
The sold-out conference featured presentations from law firm and conference partner Constangy, Brooks and Smith, LLP. Presentation topics ranged from correctly calculating compensable employee work hours to knowing how employees’ use of social media affects organizations.
Robin Shea, attorney and partner for Constangy and a conference favorite, presented information on two pertinent employment regulations: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
As a regular presenter at the Triad Employment Law Update, Robin says, “The conference is a great, cost-effective, and enjoyable way to ensure that your company is up to date on the latest developments in labor and employment law.”
Evaluations from the conference showed that guests enjoyed the speakers because they were knowledgeable, provided great information and kept them engaged. Multiple conference attendees commented positively on Robin’s presentation. She tried to keep her focus on the practical side of staying compliant while also making sure to entertain her audience. Knowing that employers have many questions related to ADA and FMLA, Robin avoided being overly legalistic and technical when she presented.
“Before the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) changes took effect in January 2009, the ADA had become almost a dead letter — it applied to such a narrow population of individuals that employers didn’t have to worry much about ADA compliance. Now that the definition of ‘disability’ has expanded so dramatically, the ADA has become extremely significant, and employers are rusty in applying it,” Robin said when asked why employers have so many questions related to the two acts.
She warns employers against punishing employees for absences that qualify as FMLA events 99.99 percent of the time. If a company does decide to take action for the remaining .01 percent, Robin suggests consulting an employers’ association or legal counsel beforehand.
Robin says the most important concept for understanding the ADA is that virtually every employee is “disabled” according to the definition found in the law.
“Be sure to consider all requests for reasonable accommodations. ‘Consider’ does not mean ‘grant,’ but do not reject any accommodation request out of hand,” she says about staying compliant.
Employers need to be aware of all the components that make up FMLA and the new ADA. Robin says that the federal government is looking for new test cases, so companies should handle these employee occurrences seriously and properly. She says that if you are not sure on what to do, ask for help before you do anything irreversible.
Constangy lawyers shared additional information on subjects important to employers. They also answered specific workplace questions from conference participants in the “Ask an Attorney” segment of the event.
“In our current regulatory and litigation climate, the value of this [conference] cannot be overemphasized” Robin says.
For more information on recent updates on FMLA and ADA or other employer related laws, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746. To get details on the next Triad Employment Law Update, please contact an account manager at the numbers above.
Photo Source: D. Begley