Certain life events can make it difficult to work. Whether it is your own health or the health of a family member, it is not unheard of having employees request time off to deal with a new baby, illness or care of an ill family member. The Family and Medical Leave Act was passed as a means to offer employees up to 12 weeks of time off in order to address certain personal or family issues that qualify an employee for this leave. But what happens when the leave is over and an employee is not ready to go back to work?
With an FMLA leave exhausted, some employees find that they are not only not ready to go back to work but also that they cannot go back to work yet. Are employees required to give an employee more leave time if they are claiming disability under the Americans with Disabilities act?
Under the ADA, an employee could request accommodations, which could be reduced work hours. This would be reasonable under these standards. However, recent ruling by the Seventh Circuit confirm that requesting more leave after a FMLA leave under the ADA as an accommodation was considered unreasonable.
SO what can an employer do? An employer can make accommodations in the work environment. Failing to do so could open up the employer to employment litigation. Additionally, an employer cannot fire an employee based on their requests to be accommodated or the fact that they requested an additional leave. This too would open the employer up to lawsuits.
Thus, if you are dealing with an employment issues regarding FMLA leave or ADA accommodations, it is vital to understand how these acts work and what rights are afforded to employees. THIs could help avoid employment litigation or resolve these mattes if they arise.
Source: Hrmorning.com, “When does ADA leave become unreasonable? Courts & EEOC say…,” Rachel Mucha, Dec. 4, 2017