We've just completed our panel discussion (wohoo!), and I've just watched a recorded p panel discussion from last semester, "FMLA, ADA, and More". I chose this panel because the topic closely related to my paper - the intersection of federal statutes when it comes to leave or accommodation.
The common themes are obvious - employers struggle to get this right. And no one is safe - from law enforcement to small businesses, knowing the right thing to do can be challenging.
I agree with the panelist, Amber Rhoton, that it's easiest to start with the FMLA and then work your way backwards from there. The FMLA has extensive (some might call it overwhelming) guidance. When you get into ADA territory, it gets real gray. So, to begin, check FMLA eligibility first.
It was heartbreaking to hear the panelist, Lisa Blackman, talk about her experience in law enforement as it related to leave, especially when the leave was prompted by an injury while in the line of duty. Ignorantly, I would have assumed that the officer would have been given every entitlement possible, but again, no employment sector is safe from the challenging world of leave and accommodations. Every scenario has to be looked at individually. When we apply blanket, rigid policies, the employee loses.
The similarities in their panel discussion and ours is the connection. We all connect on these topics and can bring totally different perspectives and scenarios to our experiences adminstrating the same laws because medical leave and accommodations involved unique employee scenarios. We can all learn from one another in how we've managed these processes while trying to maintain humanity. It ain't easy!