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2022 ADA Virtual Master Class: Mastering ADA Fundamentals

2022 ADA Virtual Master Class: Mastering ADA Fundamentals

Product Code: VAD10052022

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2022 ADA Virtual Master Class: Mastering ADA Fundamentals

Wednesday, October 5 – Thursday, October 6, 2022
12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Eastern / 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Pacific Virtual

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 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 on October 5-6, 2022! Join Skoler Abbott attorneys John Gannon and Amelia Holstrom for this informative event. 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.

Attend this virtual master class and you'll learn:

  • How to determine whether an employee is “qualified” under the ADA;
  • 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!

*Attendees will also receive 60-day access to the on-demand recording.

2022 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
  • 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
  • Requesting medical documentation
  • 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.

  • 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 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, and 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:

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 p.m.
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

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 presenters.


Agenda subject to change

2022 ADA Virtual Master Class: Mastering ADA Fundamentals


John S. Gannon

Attorney John S. Gannon wants to solve your problems early before they spiral out of control. This is critical in employment law, as lingering employment disputes often lead to time-consuming litigation. Every business, small or large, will be tested by employment law problems. The key is making sure these complications don’t become commonplace. John Foster Dulles, former Secretary of State, said: “The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.” That is good advice for employers. My goal when meeting with a new client is to find out as much as I can about the business. This way, I understand your challenges and am better equipped to solve your problems. One of my favorite things to do is to take a walk through a client’s facility so I can see what makes a business tick.

Unfortunately, some legal problems need to be resolved by a judge and jury. John is familiar with this process. He has defended numerous employers against claims of discrimination, retaliation, harassment, and wrongful termination, as well as actions arising under the Family Medical Leave Act and wage & hour law. John also has experience with lawsuits seeking to enforce restrictive covenants and protect trade secrets.

John prefers avoiding costly litigation for his clients if and when possible. To that end, he frequently assists employers in litigation avoidance strategies. He has reviewed countless employee handbooks and related policies for compliance, and he does lots of training for employers. John has also conducted comprehensive wage & hour and employment practices audits. He regularly counsels employers on compliance with state and federal laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, and Occupational Health and Safety Act.

John is a frequent speaker on employment-related legal topics for a wide variety of associations and organizations, and including appearances on Western Mass News and the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly podcast sessions. John was selected by BusinessWest as a 40 Under Forty honoree for the Class of 2016, and was also selected as a Super Lawyers Rising Star, an exclusive list recognizing no more than 2.5 percent of lawyers in Massachusetts. John currently serves as a board member for Riverside Industries, Inc., and the Chicopee Chamber of Commerce. In addition, he is a past board member of Educational Resources for Children, Inc., and when he has the time serves as the Springfield District Court lawyer for the day.

When John’s not working on employment law problems, there is a decent chance you can find him on the local tennis courts or golf courses.

Amelia J. Holstrom

Growing up, Attorney Amelia J. Holstrom watched her parents, who were both members of management at different companies, make difficult decisions that involved employees. When she decided to go to law school, Amelia knew that she wanted to be involved in litigation, but she wasn’t sure exactly what type of litigation. In her second year, she took a labor law class, which has helped shape the course of her career ever since. The class reminded Amelia about the difficulties businesses and members of management face when making decisions about employees and the laws that impact those decisions. Now, her practice focuses on litigation avoidance, employment litigation, and labor law and relations. Amelia has developed a practice in which she prides herself on helping her clients make difficult employment decisions within their legal obligations in an effort to help them limit legal liability. And, when someone does file a lawsuit against one of her clients, she is an experienced litigator prepared to defend her client. When people think about businesses, they tend to forget they are run by ordinary individuals who have to make difficult decisions on a daily basis.

Sometimes those decisions involve employees. Amelia's goal is to help her clients avoid legal liability. As part of that process, she advises them on what the law requires and help them avoid any missteps. Litigation can be a burdensome, time consuming, and contentious process. While always prepared to handle litigation on behalf of her clients, Amelia prefers that an issue never gets that far. It is in a client's best interest to handle the situation appropriately from the beginning and avoid the lawsuit all together.

Amelia’s legal and professional skills and community involvement have been recognized many times by outside organizations. She was selected by BusinessWest as a 40 Under Forty honoree. She was also awarded the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Community Service Award and named as an Up & Coming Lawyer Honoree by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly for its Excellence in the Law Event. Amelia currently serves as a board member for Clinical and Support Options, Inc. and served on the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts board for six years, and is now a member of its development committee. She is also an ad hoc member of the Personnel Committee for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and was formerly on the Board of Directors for Friends of the Homeless, where she served as the clerk. For four years (2018–2021), Super Lawyers named her to its Rising Stars list, an exclusive honor recognizing no more than 2.5 percent of lawyers in Massachusetts.

2022 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

2022 ADA Virtual Master Class: Mastering ADA Fundamentals

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