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2023 ADA Virtual Master Class: Mastering ADA Fundamentals

2023 ADA Virtual Master Class: Mastering ADA Fundamentals

Product Code: VAD07262023

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2023 ADA Virtual Master Class: Mastering ADA Fundamentals

Program Length: 8 Hours

Complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) can be a challenge for many HR professionals. The ADA intersects and overlaps with many other laws, like the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and workers' compensation, and it can be tricky trying to figure out which law to apply to which particular situation. When you add the COVID-19 pandemic to the mix, complying with the ADA has now gotten even harder.

For instance, in December 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidance stating that workers who contract COVID-19 may be protected from discrimination under the ADA. Engaging in the interactive process is crucial when determining whether an employee has a disability related to COVID-19. And to obtain the information you need without violating the ADA, you’ll need to know what you can and can’t ask—and when. Figuring out what kind of accommodation is reasonable and effective can create additional challenges—particularly if employees have been working remotely during the pandemic.

Master the fundamentals of the ADA to stay in compliance by attending our highly anticipated virtual master class! This virtual workshop is designed to keep you in compliance with the ADA while teaching you all the legal tips and tricks to help you successfully navigate one of HR's trickiest employment laws.

By attending this 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!

2023 ADA Virtual Master Class: Mastering ADA Fundamentals


Day 1: Mastering ADA Fundamentals

12:00 p.m.–12:05 p.m.
Speaker Introduction 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
  • How to analyze a job to determine which functions are essential
  • Using an individualized assessment to determine whether an individual can safely perform essential job functions
  • 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 a 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
  • About requesting medical documentation
  • Information on 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 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 that 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
    • Intermittent leave
    • Return to work
  • 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.
Q&A Session

Do you have any lingering questions or want to revisit a concept or two from earlier in the day? Use this time to get your questions answered before today’s workshop comes to a close.

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

12:00 p.m.–12:30 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.

12:30 p.m.–1:15 p.m.
Special COVID-19 Supplement

This section covers actions employers can take during the 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 workplace adjustments during a pandemic may affect your response to requests for reasonable accommodation

1:15 p.m.–1:30 p.m.

1:30 p.m.–2:30 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 of HR practitioners. You’ll have the opportunity to discuss issues with your trainer 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, and the trainer’s own experience 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:

A. Asking applicants about vaccine status:

  • What an employer can ask and when
  • Required accommodations

B. 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

2:30 p.m.–2:45 p.m.

2:45 p.m.-3:30
Interactive Hypotheticals (continued)

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

Use this time to ask any remaining questions you may have about the information covered during this virtual workshop. Take advantage of this opportunity to get answers to all of your burning questions before the course wraps up.

2023 ADA Virtual Master Class: Mastering ADA Fundamentals


July — Class Schedule (Eastern time)

July 26 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
July 27 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

October — Class Schedule (Eastern time)

October 25 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
October 26 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

2023 ADA Virtual Master Class: Mastering ADA Fundamentals


July 26-27 | October 25-26

Sharell Thomas-HodgeSharell Thomas-Hodge
Total Rewards Director, YMCA of Metro Atlanta

Sharell Thomas-Hodge is the Total Rewards Director for the YMCA of Metro Atlanta. She joined the company in 2020 and her responsibilities include compensation, executive compensation, benefits design & administration, and payroll. Prior to joining The Y, Sharell was the Director of Total Rewards at Dekra North America. During her tenure at Dekra she played a significant role in the acquisition of 7 companies and was a key architect in the creation of a total rewards program designed for the newly established safety company. She also worked for Strategic Benefits Consulting as a Senior Benefits Consultant, responsible for Executive and Global Compensation. Sharell is a graduate of Devry University and holds an MBA. She is a SHRM Certified Senior Professional. She has been a featured speaker at the Quit Commuting Conference, and currently serves on the HR Committee of the board at the Atlanta Mission. She is also the CEO of The Sharell Group, a coaching and consulting firm. Sharell enjoys reading, singing and spending time with her family.


2023 OSHA Compliance & Recordkeeping Virtual Master Class

Frequently Asked Questions

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

This will be hosted on Zoom. Attendees should have access to a computer that has a microphone and speakers/headphone connection to participate. There is also an option to dial in if needed. You can read the full system requirements for Zoom by visiting You can also test your system by visiting

For the best overall and highest quality connection experience we recommend using the Zoom Meetings application, but if you cannot download or run the application, you may join via a Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari web browser by going to, clicking on “Join a Meeting” at the top of the window, and entering the meeting information; please be sure to enter your full name when prompted. You can also click on the link provided and choose “Join from Your Browser” at the bottom of the window (just cancel the app initiation as needed). For complete instructions see

2023 OSHA Compliance & Recordkeeping Virtual Master Class

Credit Information

Credit applies to these Masterclass dates: July 26-27, 2023 | October 25-26, 2023

HR Certification Institute HRCI

SHRM Preferred Provider

The use of this official seal confirms that this Activity has met HR Certification Institute’s® (HRCI®)  criteria for recertification credit pre-approval.
HR Certification Institute’s® ( official seal confirms that Business & Legal Resources (BLR) meets the criteria for pre-approved recertification credit(s) for any of HRCI’s eight credentials, including SPHR® and PHR®.
This Program has been approved for 7.5 HR (General) recertification credit hours toward aPHR™, aPHRi™, PHR®, PHRca®, SPHR®, GPHR®, PHRi™ and SPHRi™ recertification through HR Certification Institute® (HRCI®).

For more information about certification or recertification, please visit the HR Certification Institute website at
The credits expire 12/31/2023.

Business & Learning Resources (BLR) is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. This program is valid for 7.5 PDCs for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit the SHRM Certification website at
The credits expire 12/31/2023.

Business & Learning Resources (BLR) is recognized by HCI to offer recertification credits toward a 3-year HCI Certification. This program is valid for 7.5 HCI Credits. For more information about recertification, please visit the HCI Certification website at