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2017 FMLA Master Class: New York - Advanced Skills for Employee Leave Management

2017 FMLA Master Class: New York - Advanced Skills for Employee Leave Management

Product Code: F17NY

1st Attendee $549.00*
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2017 FMLA Master Class: New York
Advanced Skills for Employee Leave Management

On-Site Seminar:
New York City | Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Binghamton | Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Morning Focus: Mastering FMLA Fundamentals 
Afternoon Focus: Intensive Workshop Addressing the Real-Life Application of FMLA Rules, DOL Regulations, and Court Rulings

Think employee leave management is a one-time policy issue? Be careful! New and confusing regulations, conflicting court decisions, and increasing employee abuse of FMLA protections means family and medical leave will remain one of HR’s biggest management headaches.

To help you master your obligations and avoid costly penalties, the publisher of your state's Employment Law Letter has crafted a cost-effective and engaging solution: 2017 FMLA Master Class: New York - Advanced Skills for Employee Leave Management. This intensive day-long workshop provides the comprehensive knowledge you need to master real-life issues. Experienced attorneys will provide substantive instruction on fundamental FMLA compliance principles in light of new and existing regulations, court rulings, and application of this far-reaching law. You’ll engage with your instructors and your peers, solving challenges you face day in and day out concerning intermittent leave, return to work, employee performance, and much more.

This event teaches employee leave management essentials while instilling the confidence you need to make the right coverage calls, control abuse and fraud, answer the toughest questions from employees and your executive colleagues, and avoid the expensive missteps that have devastated other employers.

You’ll enhance your advanced-practitioner skill set when you attend this satisfaction-guaranteed event and learn:

  • How to judge a “serious health condition” the way a real judge would, and eliminate disputes about what does and doesn’t constitute it
  • The latest FMLA revisions, so you don’t risk noncompliance
  • What recent FMLA court decisions really mean, so you can adjust your policies accordingly
  • Why FMLA recordkeeping continues to trip up even the savviest human resource managers, and some solutions to avoid similar mistakes
  • How to tame the intermittent leave and reduced schedule beasts, and put a stop to abuse and fraud
  • How FMLA, ADA, and state workers’ comp laws overlap, so you can avoid violations
  • And more!

Attendees receive complimentary takeaways on this regulatory update from the New York Employment Law Letter editors.


"When an employer routinely disregards the FMLA rights of its workers, whole families can be harmed. We will continue to use all enforcement tools at our disposal to uphold FMLA protections for workers and make sure that all employers operate in compliance with the law."

– Wayne Kotowski, Wage & Hour Division, U.S. Department of Justice 

Master Class Agenda

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.

Grab a cup of coffee from our refreshment station, get situated, and get ready to learn!

Part I
Mastering FMLA Fundamentals 

8:30 – 9:00 a.m.
FMLA Eligibility: Granting FMLA Leave When It’s Due and Getting It Right under the Rules

Employers often neglect to take the critical first step in administering FMLA leave—determining employee eligibility. Taking defined, consistent steps in determining employee eligibility in the first place helps employers not only properly deny leave when workers don’t qualify, but also grant leave for a period that is reasonable and necessary. Additionally, eligibility for leave to care for covered family members has changed in recent years as the definition of family member has been altered by FMLA regulations, court decisions, and changes in the family structure.

In this opening session, we’ll explain these developments and how to adjust your policies and practices to ensure compliance with the changing regulatory, legal, and practical landscape. 

You’ll learn:

  • How to determine FMLA eligibility quickly and easily
  • How the FMLA rules and related court decisions define who qualifies as a covered family member
  • How to coordinate leave for workers caring for adult children
  • The rules related to determining in loco parentis status
  • How to coordinate state and federal leave when covered family members differ

9:00 – 10:00 a.m.
Managing Serious Health Conditions and Medical Certifications 

At the heart of many FMLA leave requests is the serious health condition. The FMLA regulations do offer guidance and allow you to require medical certification, yet there are a multitude of possible reasons for needing FMLA leave. Assessing the information requires keen judgment, and this session will show you how to make these crucial calls. You’ll learn about:

  • Illnesses and injuries that may be serious health conditions, even though the regulations say they generally aren’t
  • How many health conditions it takes to be “serious”
  • How often your employee needs to see a healthcare provider
  • What to do if a medical certification is incomplete or unclear
  • Your options if an employee or doctor doesn’t cooperate with obtaining the required certifications
  • When you may require employees to provide recertification of a serious health condition
  • The “do’s and don’ts” of return-to-work certifications

10:00 – 10:15 a.m.

10:15 – 11:00 a.m.
Meeting FMLA Deadlines: Notification, Curbing Abuse, and Preventing Claims

FMLA is ruled by deadlines for giving and receiving information, for measuring how much leave has been taken, and for determining how much leave employees have remaining in a given year. A good grasp of timing rules—and learning how to monitor other key areas of FMLA usage—can help you prevent abuse of FMLA entitlements and fend off litigation. This session covers:

  • How to give the four kinds of FMLA notices—on time and on point
  • What to do if an employee refuses FMLA designation
  • Selecting the best type of FMLA leave year for your organization
  • Counting holidays that fall during leave
  • Rules regarding “making up” FMLA leave
  • Handling suspected FMLA abuse without running afoul of the law
  • How to legally discharge employees who are on or just returned from FMLA leave

11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Mastering the Tough FMLA Issues

It’s one thing to grasp individual FMLA rules, but another thing entirely to put those pieces together in the real world. For example, intermittent leave seems pretty straightforward on paper, but how employers really manage it is another story. How is intermittent leave certified and calculated? What about temporary light-duty positions and fluctuating work schedules? Reinstatement after leave? And finally, how do you handle an FMLA investigation by the DOL? This session will help you learn:

  • How to manage intermittent and reduced schedule leave
  • How to handle leave duration
  • How to calculate leave for fluctuating work schedules
  • The rules regarding substitution of various types of paid leave for FMLA leave
  • When employees have job reinstatement rights and when they do not
  • Compliance in joint employment cases
  • Tips on how to effectively manage an FMLA investigation by the DOL

12:15 – 1:15 p.m.
Networking Power Lunch (meal included with your registration)

1:15 – 2:30 p.m.
All Together Now: Coordinating FMLA with ADA, Workers’ Comp, and State Family Leave Laws

FMLA seems pretty comprehensive, but it’s not the only law that applies when employees need time off for their own serious health condition, to care for a family member, or for other reasons. You need to know when other laws create different obligations—and how their requirements work in tandem with FMLA. In this session we’ll cover:

  • Why FMLA serious health conditions are more likely to qualify as disabilities under the ADAAA
  • When you should offer leave as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA, including a discussion of recent ADA leave cases and agency guidance
  • How to offer accommodations other than leave without violating the FMLA
  • When you can require employees to take FMLA leave concurrently with workers’ comp leave
  • The latest developments in state leave laws, including paid sick leave, family leave, and other trends

2:30 – 2:45 p.m.

Part II
Intensive Workshop Addressing the Real-Life Application of FMLA Rules, DOL Regulations, and Court Rulings 

2:45 – 4:00 p.m.
Applying Your Knowledge

During this highly interactive portion of the FMLA Master Class, our esteemed faculty of labor and employment attorneys will walk you through a series of scenarios demonstrating the real-life FMLA issues that stump even the most seasoned of HR practitioners. You’ll have the opportunity to discuss issues with your trainers and fellow attendees to determine the correct course of action to take, based on the facts presented and your knowledge of fundamental FMLA compliance principles.

Recent court rulings, long-standing case law precedent, DOL interpretations, opinion letters, and regulations—as well as the trainers’ own experiences in advising clients—are interwoven into this engaging afternoon workshop with the goal of providing you with actionable insights into the tricky FMLA issues that come up in daily work life.

You’ll dive deep into:

1. Addressing issues with medical certifications and what to do when:

  • Certification submitted by employee is not sufficient
  • Employee does not return the certification
  • Employee refuses to update the certification if need for leave changes
  • Employee does not submit fitness-for-duty certification at end of leave

2. Intermittent leave

  • Certification of need for intermittent leave
  • Specific information on when leave is needed, expected frequency and duration
  • What to do if an employee uses more leave than expected
  • Abuse of intermittent leave (Mondays and Fridays, before and after holidays)

3. Reduced schedule leave

  • Certification and specific information on reduced hours, expected duration
  • Updating certification
  • Tracking leave time

4. FMLA during the holidays and shutdowns

  • How to “count FMLA leave during holidays
  • Administering FMLA leave during extended plant or office shutdowns
  • Determining whether an employee on FMLA leave during holidays is entitled to holiday pay

5. Addressing performance issues that arise prior to the request for leave

  • What to do when an employee requests FMLA leave in the midst of the disciplinary process or just before discipline or termination steps are taken
  • Addressing performance issues that arise during intermittent or reduced schedule leave
  • Addressing performance issues discovered while an employee is on leave
  • Reductions in force while employee is on FMLA leave

6. Return to work—what to do if an employee is:

  • Not able to return to work at end of leave (ADA considerations)
  • Cleared to return to work with restrictions
  • Temporarily unable to perform essential functions
  • Unable to perform essential functions in the long-term

4:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Final Questions and Closing

Have lingering questions about points raised during this intensive FMLA hypo-driven workshop or want to revisit a fundamental concept or two from earlier in the day? Take advantage of this opportunity to get clarification from the attorneys before you wrap up for the day. 

Your Master Class Faculty: The New York law firm of Sills Cummis & Gross P.C.

Charles KaplanCharles H. Kaplan 

Member with Sills Cummis & Gross, P.C., Charles Kaplan represents employers in courts and before enforcement agencies, including the EEOC, the U.S. Department of Labor, the New York State Division of Human Rights, the New York State Department of Labor and the New York City Commission on Human Rights. He counsels management in a broad range of industries, on a wide variety of issues such as family and medical leave, discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, EEO, affirmative action, wage and hour, employment-at-will, wrongful discharge, employment mediations and arbitrations, HR administration, personnel policies and employee handbooks and much more. 

Jill Turner LeverJill Turner Lever

Jill Turner Lever is Of Counsel with Sills Cummis & Gross, P.C. and practices in all aspects of employment law.  She advises clients on a wide range of employment law issues including day-to-day advice and counsel on compliance with federal, state and local employment laws.  Ms. Lever drafts employment agreements, separation agreements, employee handbooks and human resources policies.  She provides advice on handling complaints of sexual and other forms of workplace harassment.  

Ms. Lever has significant experience preparing for and guiding clients on implementing reductions in force, as well as due diligence and other employment issues relating to mergers, acquisitions and corporate restructurings.  Ms. Lever conducts training programs on prevention of workplace harassment, discrimination and retaliation, as well as management training.  In addition, she has significant experience representing clients before federal, state and local administrative agencies.  Ms. Lever’s practice spans a range of industries, including health care, pharmaceutical, financial services, travel and manufacturing, among others.


Your Master Class Faculty: The New York law firm of Coughlin & Gerhart, LLP

Paul SweenyPaul J. Sweeny:

Mr. Sweeney joined Coughlin & Gerhart, LLP, in 1992, following active duty as a Marine Corps judge advocate. He is a partner in the Firm and a member of the Firm’s Management Committee. He concentrates in labor and employment law and commercial litigation. As chair of the Firm's Labor & Employment Law Practice Group, Mr. Sweeney defends employers against liability, discrimination and disability claims, and represents employers in contract negotiations, arbitration, discipline and administrative proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board, the Public Employment Relations Board, and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration.

Mr. Sweeney serves on the Executive Committee of the New York State Bar Association's Labor & Employment Law Section and is the Treasurer of the Northern District of New York - Federal Court Bar Association. He edits the New York Employment Law Letter, a monthly publication that helps employers understand new laws, regulations and court cases. He has received an "AV Preeminent" peer review rating from Martindale-Hubbell and has been named for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America and the New York Super Lawyers publications. Mr. Sweeney was selected by the Chief U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of New York to serve as a mediator and to serve on the Northern District's ADR Committee. Mr. Sweeney received his Bachelor of Arts degree, in cursu honorum, from Fordham University and his Juris Doctor degree from Brooklyn Law School.

Joseph SteflikJoseph J. Steflik:

Mr. Steflik joined Coughlin and Gerhart, LLP in 1999 and is Of Counsel with the firm. He is Chair Emeritus of the firm’s Labor and Employment Law Practice Group. Mr. Steflik concentrates his law practice in the areas of labor, employment, and construction law.

Mr. Steflik is the past Chair of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the New York State Bar Association, and a member of the American Bar Association's Labor and Employment Law Section and its Forum on the Construction Industry. Mr. Steflik has given numerous lectures on such topics as strikes, picketing and their alternatives, union organizing activities, age, sex, disability discrimination, administrative procedures, and the multiple aspects of construction law. Mr. Steflik is a contributor to various books including the American Bar Association/BNA treatises Developing Labor Law, Employment Discrimination Law and Employee Benefits Law. He is listed in the labor and employment law section of Best Lawyers in America. Mr. Steflik also teaches at Binghamton University. Mr. Steflik has been honored as one of the “New York Area’s Best Lawyers” in the area of labor and employment law in the 2008 listings published by New York Magazine.

Angelo CatalanoAngelo D. Catalano:

Mr. Catalano is an Associate with Coughlin & Gerhart, LLP. Mr. Catalano’s practice is concentrated in the areas of Labor & Employment, Litigation and Public Law.
Mr. Catalano is a member of the New York State Bar Association and a member of the Labor & Employment Law Section. He is also a member of the Broome County Bar Association and is Co-Chair of the Young Lawyer's Section. Mr. Catalano began his legal career in the Binghamton area when he served as a law clerk with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of New York while in law school. He later served as a law clerk in the Buffalo Regional Office of the New York State Attorney General's Office, served as student judicial law clerk to the Honorable John F. O'Donnell (S.J.C., 8th District), and served as a law clerk, and later as an associate, with another local law firm. He joined Coughlin & Gerhart, LLP in 2014.

Mr. Catalano represents employers in drafting employment agreements, counseling employers on wage and hour issues and department of labor regulatory compliance. He also represents employers in litigation matters such as contract grievance and arbitration, General Municipal Law 207 matters, contract negotiation, and interest arbitration. In addition to his regular work, he regularly authors and edits articles for the New York Employment Law Letter, a monthly publication that helps employers understand new laws, regulations, and court cases.

Shannon KaneShannon E. Kane:

Ms. Kane joined the firm in 2016 and is an Associate with the firm. Ms. Kane’s practice is concentrated in the areas of Labor & Employment and Litigation. Ms. Kane defends employers against liability, discrimination and disability claims, and represents employers in contract negotiations, General Municipal Law 207 matters, arbitration, discipline and administrative proceedings.

Ms. Kane began her legal career when she served as student judicial law clerk to the Honorable Thomas J. McAvoy, Senior U.S. District Judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. She also served as a student law clerk with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of New York in Syracuse, N.Y.

Theresa LevineTheresa M. Levine:

Theresa joined Coughlin & Gerhart, LLP in 2017 as an Associate in the Labor and Employment Practice Group. Theresa represents employers regarding federal and state employment and labor laws and regulations, including but not limited to workplace harassment, discrimination, retaliation, adverse action, and wage and hour issues. She also represents municipal entities in General Municipal Law §207 matters. She has extensive experience drafting workplace policies and procedures, conducting workplace training, investigations, participating in conciliation and fact-findings before state and federal agencies, and negotiating. While attending law school, Theresa worked full-time as a Senior Employment Law and Equal Employment Opportunity adviser in the legal department of a prestigious services and technology company.

In addition to her regular work, Theresa regularly authors articles for the New York Employment Law Letter, a monthly publication that helps employers understand new laws, regulations an court cases. She is also a sought after presenter in the community on general employment law issues and practices. Theresa is a member of Broome County’s Attorney for the Child panel and actively represents children in the community. Theresa is passionate about serving on the board of directors of Mothers and Babies Perinatal Network and supporting anti-domestic violence causes. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association and a member of the Labor & Employment Section. She is also a member of the Broome County Bar Association. Outside of the office, she enjoys tennis, golf, hiking and camping.


Program Locations and Dates

When: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 
Radisson Martinique 
49 West 32nd street 
New York, NY, 10001 

When: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 
DoubleTree by Hilton Binghamton
225 Water Street
Binghamton, NY 13901

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