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2021 ADA Virtual Master Class: Mastering ADA Fundamentals

2021 ADA Virtual Master Class: Mastering ADA Fundamentals

Product Code: VEM11172021

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2021 ADA Virtual Master Class: Mastering ADA Fundamentals

Wednesday, November 17 – Thursday, November 18, 2021

Program Length: 6 hours

While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is over 30 years old, it is still a major pain point for many HR professionals trying to remain compliant. Who is and isn't covered by the ADA? What is a reasonable accommodation? How do you prove a worker is truly disabled? How does the ADA intersect with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)? These were—and continue to be—common questions, but now consider COVID-19 and all the accommodation requests that have come with it.

How do you accommodate workers who can't get vaccinated or wear a mask? What about "long COVID"—how do you accommodate that? Is remote work a viable option as an ADA accommodation? When it comes to accommodating workers, these truly are unprecedented times for many HR professionals across the country. And if your organization isn't careful in how it accommodates employees, you could be at the receiving end of a lawsuit.

In early September, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced its first lawsuit against an employer for failing to accommodate a request related to COVID-19. According to the EEOC’s suit, a health and safety manager for a facility management company in Covington, Georgia, requested an accommodation to work remotely 2 days per week and take frequent breaks while working onsite due to an underlying condition that caused the worker to have difficulty breathing, ultimately putting the employee at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19.

Although the company allowed other employees to work from home, it denied this worker's request and, shortly thereafter, fired the employee. The EEOC is seeking back pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages for the employee, as well as injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination. Don't wind up in a similar place. Master the fundamentals of the ADA and remain in compliance when you attend this brand-new Master Class!

You'll learn:

  • How to determine whether an employee is “qualified” under the ADA;
  • How to determine whether an accommodation is reasonable, and what type of accommodation is needed;
  • When to start the interactive process and what the entire process entails;
  • How other laws, like the FMLA, HIPAA, and GINA intersect with the ADA;
  • How retaliation claims under the ADA may arise—and employer actions that in most cases are likely to be deemed retaliatory;
  • How to safely manage the hiring process while complying with the ADA
  • How to properly accommodate workers with COVID-19;
  • And more!

2021 ADA Virtual Master Class: Mastering ADA Fundamentals


*All Times are in Eastern
12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Eastern / 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Pacific each day

Day 1—Mastering ADA Fundamentals

12:00 p.m. – 12:05 p.m.
Speaker Introductions and Opening Remarks

12:05 p.m. – 1:05 p.m.
Who’s Covered Under the ADA and Who’s Not?

As the courts continue to interpret the amended ADA and its regulations, their decisions can affect the policies and procedures you have for managing employees with disabilities, responding to requests for accommodation, and documenting the interactive process. But how can you know for sure when an employee is protected under the ADA? When does an employee’s impairment rise to the level of a disability? Does the ADA ever protect employees without disabilities?

We’ll cover:

  • How to determine whether an employee is “qualified” under the ADA
  • What kind of information you can ask for, and when<
  • Using an individualized assessment to determine whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity
  • Actions that may create liability under the “regarded as” definition of disability
  • When “routine” illnesses are likely to trigger your ADA compliance obligations
  • How ADA protections apply for association-based issues and disability-related inquiries

1:05 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.

1:15 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Providing Reasonable Accommodation – What’s ‘Reasonable’?

Once you determine that an employee or job applicant has a disability, you need to figure out if there’s a reasonable accommodation that will work for you and the employee. But to what lengths must you go to provide reasonable accommodation? Do you have to provide the specific accommodation requested by the employee? How do you determine whether an accommodation is an undue hardship? In this session, you’ll learn how to:

  • Determine whether an accommodation is reasonable
  • Apply recent court decisions on telecommuting, temporary transfers, and light-duty assignments
  • Gauge when you have done enough
  • Determine the financial commitment contemplated under the law
  • Train supervisors to spot when performance issues may signal a need for an accommodation

1:45 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
The Interactive Process: From Request to Resolution

Once you are aware of an employee’s disability and the possible need for reasonable accommodation, you have a duty to engage in the interactive process with that employee to determine any possible reasonable accommodations. In this session, you will learn:

  • When the process should begin
  • Who should be involved in the discussions
  • What kinds of information you need for the analysis
  • Duty of good-faith participation
  • GINA and HIPAA factors to consider
  • How to document your efforts

2:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Practical Solutions to Complex Problems

Handling performance and conduct issues, absenteeism and tardiness, and other complex workplace problems is challenging enough, but when you add in the ADA’s requirements, it can leave you wondering what to do first. This session covers:

  • Requiring covered employees to meet performance or attendance expectations
  • Substance and alcohol abuse
  • Perceived or “regarded as” having a disability
  • Chronic illnesses

3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Navigating Through the ADA, FMLA, and Workers’ Compensation Maze

The overlap and varying requirements of these laws can make it difficult to determine an employee’s rights and an employer’s obligations. So, how do you handle health conditions that are covered under two or all three of these laws? This session outlines the differences in the laws and explains how to analyze situations when two or more of these laws interact. Employers also must consider applicable state laws which often have broader protection for employees and cover smaller employers. This session will help with:

  • Determining if any or all of the laws apply and juggling conflicting requirements
  • Walking through the practical differences
    • Light duty
    • What you can and can’t ask when making medical inquiries
    • When you may require fitness-for-duty medical exams
    • How to ensure confidentiality under HIPAA, GINA, and other laws
  • Handling employee absences and requests for extended leave
  • Handling return-to-work issues, including medical restrictions and disability leaves

3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Use this opportunity to pose your lingering questions about the information covered in today's training. Take advantage of this chance to get clarification and custom-tailored advice from the attorneys.

Day 2—Intensive Workshop Addressing the Real-Life Application of the ADA, EEOC Regulations and Guidance, and Court Decisions

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Response Strategies – Dealing with Mistakes, Avoiding Retaliation, and Mastering Your Defense of Claims

So, despite your best efforts, you think your company may have made a mistake. What do you do now? In this session, you’ll learn some of the available options to help clean up any messes, and what you can do to prevent them in the future. We’ll explore:

  • What do you do if your company has messed up? How far should you go to avoid litigation?
  • How retaliation claims under the ADA may arise—and employer actions that in most cases are likely to be deemed retaliatory
  • Best practices for responding to EEOC charges
  • Tips on how to draft and update policies, records, training, and documentation protocols to improve your defenses to ADA claims

1:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.

1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Special COVID-19 Supplement

This section covers actions employers can take during a pandemic to help keep the workplace safe for employees while staying in compliance with the ADA. You will learn:

  • How to safely manage the hiring process while complying with the ADA
  • What kinds of disability-related questions you can and can’t ask applicants and employees
  • How a pandemic may affect your response to requests for reasonable accommodation

2:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Interactive Hypotheticals

During this highly interactive portion of the ADA Master Class, our faculty of employment attorneys will walk you through a series of hypotheticals demonstrating the real-life ADA issues that challenge even the most seasoned 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 ADA compliance principles.

Recent court rulings, long-standing case law precedent, EEOC guidance 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 insights and practical approaches to help you master the tricky ADA issues that come up in daily work life.

You’ll take an in-depth look at:

1. Accommodations for long COVID-19 and how to handle:

  • An employee’s requests for leave or an extension of leave
  • The interactive process
  • Medical documentation and HIPAA
  • Telecommuting as a reasonable accommodation

2. Light-duty and reassignment as accommodations

  • What the ADA does and doesn’t require
  • How to decide whether to continue light-duty status
  • When a position is considered “vacant”

3. Pregnancy-related disabilities

  • When a pregnancy-related impairment may be a disability
  • What’s required for accommodation
  • How to avoid adverse employment actions

4. Performance and conduct issues

  • When a disability isn’t obvious, such as when an employee has bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety, depression, or another “unseen” psychiatric condition that may be a protected disability under the ADA
  • Fitness-for-duty exams
  • Applying performance standards and conduct rules in a way that minimizes legal risks
  • Using the interactive process

5. Return-to-work exams

  • When employers can require return-to-work exams
  • Job-relatedness and business necessity
  • Evaluating the ability to perform essential functions

6. Requests for accommodation

  • Handling requests on an individualized basis
  • Engaging in the interactive process
  • What’s reasonable – and what’s not
  • Emotional support/service animals

7. Fragrance sensitivity

  • Reasonable documentation of disability
  • Functional limitation and performance of essential functions
  • Reasonable accommodations

8. No-fault attendance policies

  • Exceptions for ADA accommodations
  • Keeping sick employees home
  • Accommodating sporadic, unpredictable absences

9. Obesity

  • As a physical impairment
  • As a covered disability
  • Fitness for duty exams
  • Managing accommodation requests

10. Workers’ compensation and ADA

  • Overlapping coverage
  • Interactive process and reasonable accommodation
  • Avoiding liability for a “regarded as” disability

3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Q & A Session and Final Takeaways

This is your chance to ask any remaining questions you may have about the information covered in today's session. Take advantage of this opportunity to get clarification from the attorneys.

Agenda subject to change

2021 ADA Virtual Master Class: Mastering ADA Fundamentals


Lisa Koblin

Lisa Koblin assists employers with labor and employment disputes, including litigation of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, unpaid wage and class action claims in state and federal courts as well as mediation. She provides counseling on employee handbooks and policies, noncompete agreements, anti-discrimination statutes, wage and hour laws, and joint employer liability. Her experience providing Human Resources training covers topics ranging from conducting effective investigations, to complying with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and state and local employment laws concerning paid sick leave, leaves of absence, and employee accommodations. She also represents clients responding to OSHA citations and unfair labor practice charges before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and defends clients who arbitrate employee grievances before the American Arbitration Association.

Koblin's experience with labor and employment law is also informed by her past involvement with employment-related cases when she served as a deputy attorney general for the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General. Koblin was first-chair in a successful employment litigation trial in state court, obtained summary judgement on behalf of an employer, and defended state agencies and individual employees from lawsuits. While in law school, she completed an externship with the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of New Jersey.

Dena Calo

Dena Calo counsels companies through complex labor and employment risks that pose a threat to their reputation in the marketplace. As a seasoned HR strategist and employment lawyer, she understands employers are facing increasing scrutiny of their labor and employment policies and procedures from government regulators and employees.

She advises management clients, particularly in the hospitality, higher education, and multifamily real estate industries in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, on the application of employment laws to their particular business needs, the implementation of legal HR policies, and representation in litigation in courts throughout the United States when their compliance is challenged.

Calo's perspective also stems from a combination of experience working both in private practice and in-house.

In addition, Calo has litigated cases to state and federal juries throughout the United States involving Title VII, ERISA, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Family Medical Leave Act, and the Fair Labor Standards Act, state and federal constitutional issues, defamation, restrictive covenants, and contract disputes.

Angella Middleton

Angella Middleton focuses on commercial litigation for corporate clients, particularly cases involving employment issues and white collar and government enforcement matters. Employers rely on Middleton for representation in discrimination claims as well as handling internal investigations and drafting employment policies and handbooks.

Her work in the employment space is informed by her understanding of diversity and inclusion issues in the workplace, including counteracting unconscious bias and fostering an inclusive climate, which are among the issues she studied while earning a Diversity & Inclusion Certificate from eCornell. Her experience with internal investigations extends to her white-collar practice. She represents corporate and individuals facing government investigations, as well. Middleton’s litigation work also includes matters for the higher education industry, principally internal investigation arising from allegations of hazing in fraternities at colleges and universities.

In addition, Middleton has experience with litigation involving product liability, professional liability and malpractice, and insurance loss claims. While in law school, she worked for the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office and the Camden County Prosecutor's Office.

Zachary Kimmel

Zachary Kimmel represents public and private sector employers in workforce-related disputes and provides compliance advice on labor and employment laws and regulations. His experience includes matters involving federal and state wage and hour laws, the Service Contract Act, OSHA regulations, and the New Jersey Whistleblower Act. Kimmel handles employment discrimination claims under Title VII and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD ). He also represents colleges and universities in gender discrimination and sexual harassment claims under Title IX of the Higher Education Act. Management and city governments look to him for counsel in grievance arbitrations relating to collective bargaining agreements (CBAs).

In addition to his litigation practice, Kimmel advises employers on best practices in the workplace. He also reviews and drafts employment contracts and severance agreements. During law school, Kimmel was a judicial intern for the Hon. David R. Strawbridge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and an employment litigation intern for the State of New Jersey Office of the Attorney General.

2021 ADA Virtual Master Class: Mastering ADA Fundamentals

Frequently Asked Questions

What computer set-up do I need to attend this class?

This will be hosted on the GoToMeeting platform. Attendees should have access to a computer that has a microphone and speakers to participate, there is also an option to dial-in over a phone line if you need to connect on your phone. You can read the full system requirements for GoToMeeting by visiting You can also test your system by visiting

2021 FMLA/CFRA Virtual Master Class: Advanced Skills for Employee Leave Management

Credit Information

HR Certification Institute HRCI
SHRM Preferred Provider

CREDIT INFORMATION: This program has been submitted to the HR Certification Institute® for review. 

Business & Legal Resources (BLR) is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. This program is valid for 7 PDCs for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit the SHRM Certification website at
The live credits expire 11/17/2021.
The on-demand credits expire 12/31/21.