FMLA Insights (05/10/2012) Jeff Nowak
Employers with policies requiring employees to return from Family and Medical Leave Act leave without restrictions or 100% healed could be discriminating against employees with disabilities who could perform their jobs with or without reasonable accommodation under the Americans With Disabilities Act. Courts have ruled that employers with such policies improperly skip the individualized assessment process required under the ADA. Employers that continue to enforce such policies are at risk, especially given the ADA Amendments Act’s broader regulations and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s stance that such policies violate the ADA. Experts say employers would be wise instead to require employees returning from leave to obtain a fitness-for-duty certification that indicates they can perform the essential functions of their job with or without reasonable accommodation.