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FMLA and ADA

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) overlap but are not identical. Both relate to health and wellness in conjunction with an employee’s ability to work, but there are also important differences in these two laws. Compliance with one does not necessary equal compliance with the other.

The ADA protects employees by requiring covered employers to reasonably accommodate employees’ disabilities, while the FMLA requires covered employers to provide unpaid leave to eligible employees. The ADA covers smaller employers, while the FMLA covers only employers with 50 or more employees. The ADA’s focus is on helping employees who need workplace assistance due to a disability, while the FMLA focuses solely on a leave entitlement not to exceed 12 weeks per year. ADA coverage requires a “disability,” while the FMLA is triggered by a “serious health condition” or the need to care for an immediate family member with such a condition or efforts to adopt. It is possible to comply with one statute while violating the other.

Confusing, right? Uncertainty regarding FMLA and ADA compliance has been a source of frustration and considerable litigation in recent years. Employers are often mystified by what is expected of them, and the steps necessary for compliance can seem daunting. Employees are equally unsure but are often afraid to seek time off or request other accommodations for fear of being fired.

We can help. If you need advice or representation in a case that involves ADA or FMLA issues, we can clarify areas of uncertainty and give you peace of mind. We routinely advise clients on FMLA and ADA compliance, and we have a history of success in ADA and FMLA lawsuits. Likewise, if your business has been sued in an ADA or FMLA case, we can represent you. Lawyers in the firm have a track record of success in these cases. Here are a few examples.