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Mental Health in the Workplace: A Panel Presentation Review

Shellene Cook, MJ-LEL Fall 2022

Allison Lessard and Heather Albert talk about Mental Health in the Workplace in their presentation for Tulane’s MJ-LEL program. Their personal interaction works well, keeping the watcher engaged and learning.

Their review of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and American Disability Act (ADA) is well done. Both Lessard and Albert review qualifications of FMLA and ADA for employers and employees, which applies to leave rights, and which applies to ‘reasonable accommodation’ rights. Lessard rightly says, ‘employers have a lot of options how to support their employees’, and it’s so true!

Doing the right thing is an interactive process between the employer and the employee. There is no set rule on what ‘reasonable accommodation’ is, or what an employer should do. Determining which (or both) type(s) of protection apply to which situation is key. Albert reminds employers to ‘error on the side of caution and do the right thing for the employee’, again, so true!

When an employee is having to discuss FMLA and/or ADA, they are oftentimes scared, confused, and uncertain of whom to talk with. The role of the Human Resources practitioner is to make them feel comfortable in the process, asking questions about how to help them, not cause additional angst. This video is a great reminder of how to have these conversations, and the ease of applying reasonable accommodation, and what may not be reasonable as well. Sometimes employers cannot offer accommodations the employee asks for, they may be able to offer a different version than what was presented based on operational need; that is okay – it is the interactive process that is foundational to these situations.

Mental Health in the Workplace Review © 2022 by Shellene M. Cook is licensed under CC BY 4.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

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