Asian female employer talking to an African American female employee

The Intersection of FMLA and ADA: What Every Employee Needs to Know

Two critical pieces of employee rights legislation are the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Both of these laws are designed to protect your job and health-related needs. At Nichols Kaster PLLP, we believe it is crucial for every employee to understand these protections.

Understanding the FMLA

The FMLA guarantees eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave each year during certain personal or family health crises. This leave can be used to manage serious health conditions, care for newborns or newly adopted children, care for a family member with a severe health condition, or handle exigencies from a family member's military service.

Understanding the ADA

The ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in every facet of public life, including in the workplace. The Act staunchly upholds the principle of equal opportunities for those with disabilities across various sectors such as employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications, and governmental activities. It's an authoritative mandate that safeguards the rights of disabled individuals, ensuring they receive reasonable accommodation to have fair access to opportunities just like everyone else.

The Intersection of the FMLA and ADA

So, how do FMLA and ADA intersect? The answer lies in the protections they offer to employees with serious health conditions. Under the ADA, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodation to applicants or employees with disabilities except when such accommodation would cause an undue hardship. Accommodations can include modified work schedules, which may align with the leave provisions of the FMLA.

For instance, an employee who has exhausted their FMLA leave but still requires time off may be entitled to additional leave as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA if they meet the ADA definition of a person with a disability.

Navigating the FMLA and ADA

Navigating these two laws can be complex, given the overlapping and sometimes conflicting provisions. For example, while the FMLA requires employers to restore employees to their original or equivalent positions after their leave, the ADA does not necessarily guarantee the same position upon an employee’s return if the employer can demonstrate that holding the position could cause an undue hardship.

Protecting Your Rights

If you believe your employer has violated your rights under the FMLA or ADA, seeking legal assistance is essential. Nichols Kaster PLLP focuses on protecting the rights of employees and have the expertise and experience to guide you through this complex legal landscape and advocate for your rights.

Understanding your rights under both the FMLA and ADA can be crucial to maintaining your job security and protecting your health-related needs. If you feel these rights have been violated, contact Nichols Kaster PLLP. We are committed to justice and fairness and will fight tirelessly to protect your rights.