2017 FMLA Master Class: Texas
Advanced Skills for Employee Leave Management
Austin, Texas | Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Dallas, Texas | Thursday, April 6, 2017
Morning Focus: Master FMLA Essentials to Make Sure Your Knowledge Foundation is Up to Date
Afternoon Focus: FMLA Compliance Scenarios and Case Studies for Real-World Application
Lunch is included with your registration!
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 Texas Employment Law Letter has crafted a cost-effective and engaging solution: 2017 FMLA Master Class: Texas - Advanced Skills for Employee Leave Management. This intensive day-long workshop provides the comprehensive knowledge you need to master real-life issues. An experienced Texas attorney will provide substantive instruction on FMLA compliance in light of new and existing regulations, court rulings, and application of this far-reaching law. You’ll engage with your instructor 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 judges do, 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
- Where FMLA recordkeeping trips 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 workers’ comp laws overlap, so you can avoid violations
- And more!
"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 a.m.–8:30 a.m.
Part I: Mastering FMLA Fundamentals
FMLA Eligibility: Granting FMLA Leave When It’s Due and Getting It Right under the Rules
8:30 a.m.–9:00 a.m.
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 spouse
- 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
Managing Serious Health Conditions and Medical Certifications
9:00 a.m.–9:45 a.m.
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
9:45 a.m.–10:00 a.m.
Meeting FMLA Deadlines: Notification, Curbing Abuse, and Preventing Claims
10:00 a.m.–10:45 a.m.
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
Mastering the Tough FMLA Issues
10:45 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
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 a FMLA investigation by 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 different 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 a FMLA investigation by the DOL
All Together Now: Coordinating FMLA with ADA, Workers’ Comp, and State Family Leave Laws
11:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
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.
Networking Power Lunch (included with your registration)
12:15 p.m.–1:15 p.m.
Part II: Intensive Workshop Addressing the Real-Life Application of FMLA Rules, DOL Regulations, and Court Rulings
1:15 p.m.–4:00 p.m. (Break from 2:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.)
During this highly interactive portion of the program, your Master Class leader will walk you through a series of scenarios to solve the real-life FMLA issues that stump even the most seasoned HR practitioners. You’ll cover different leave management and decision-making challenges with your trainer and fellow attendees to determine the correct course of action, based on the facts 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 trainer's 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 hurdles 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
Final Questions and Closing
4:00 - 4:30 p.m.
Have lingering questions about points raised during this intensive FMLA 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 attorney before we wrap up.
Your Austin Faculty with the law firm of Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP
William E. Hammel
William "Billy" Hammel is a partner in the Dallas office of Constangy. Billy's practice includes counseling and representing employers in the areas of employment law, labor relations, compensation and benefits, workplace safety, corporate governance, officer and director liability, preventative counseling, liability and risk management, and best practices. He regularly represents employers in a wide variety of labor and employment law matters before administrative agencies and in state and federal courts. Billy's practice also includes drafting and litigating employment agreements and restrictive covenants, trade secret agreements, independent contractor agreements, vendor agreements, and corporate agreements. Billy's primary focus is on helping clients avoid litigation in the first place through preventative counseling, compliance counseling and training, internal audits, investigations, and damage control.
John E. Duke
John advises and represents regional, national, and international employers across the spectrum of industries in the full panoply of labor and employment matters. In addition to advising employers on such union-related concerns as organizing campaigns, collective bargaining, and strikes, John also defends employers in representation and unfair labor practice cases before the National Labor Relations Board, handles labor issues in the federal courts, and has tried dozens of labor arbitrations. He also represents employers before federal and state trial and appellate courts in single plaintiff, complex class/collective action employment litigation, and non-compete litigation.
Your Dallas Faculty with the law firm of Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
Danielle Alexis Matthews
Danielle Alexis Matthews joined the Dallas office in September 2000. As senior counsel, Danielle focuses her practice on labor and employment matters, as well as general litigation. She has actively represented clients in multiple class action matters involving wage and hour and related issues under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and similar state statutes and laws. Danielle regularly represents clients in a variety of employment matters involving Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (TCHRA), the Texas Workers' Compensation Act (TWCA), and similar statutes and regulations, as well as in employment related breach of contract cases, and cases involving the defense of Company commission and benefit policies. Danielle has also dealt regularly with clients on affirmative action issues, desk audits, and in comprehensive/on-site audits with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).
Norlynn B. Price
Norlynn Price, a partner, joined the Dallas office in 1989. She has significant experience representing employer clients in the areas of employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation and other employment-related litigation and administrative proceedings. Norlynn negotiates and advises clients regarding employment and separation agreements, including restrictive covenants and issues regarding trade secrets and confidential information. Norlynn also assists employer clients to develop best practices and workplace policies and frequently provides training to company managers, supervisors and employees on current legal issues surrounding workplace conduct.
Program Locations and Dates
When: Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Where: Renaissance Austin
9721 Arboretum Blvd
Austin, TX 78759
When: Thursday, April 6, 2017
Where: Embassy Suites Dallas - DFW International Airport South
4650 West Airport Freeway
Irving, Texas 75062