Employee Benefits ConsultingBy Gary Gustafson

The second annual Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) FMLA/ADAAA Compliance Conference was recently held in beautiful Portland, Oregon. The weather was unseasonably sunny and beautiful during the conference.

FMLA/ADAAA ComplianceWith a record-breaking 270 people in attendance, the conference offered some outstanding sessions including:

  • A pre-conference “nuts and bolts” half day session that included speakers, Jeff Nowak, Esq. and Diane Dawson from the US DOL who spoke about Disability Management. Jeff covered the requirements of FMLA and ADAAA and provided a great refresher for participants. Diane highlighted some of the resources available to employers on the DOL website including a downloadable FMLA training presentation that all employers can use to educate managers, supervisors and employees. She also provided some tips to employers if they are ever audited by the DOL.
  • One session entitled “The Compliance Conundrum” given by representatives from Liberty Mutual, and Symantec, a software/technology company, provided insights into best practices around ADA accommodations and leave management. By implementing a formal request process, educating supervisors on compliance issues, and providing an infrastructure to support the process, Symantec has been successful in managing leave and accommodation requests, along with tracking, and following-up with employees. They cited communication with employees and other stake holders, as well as follow-up, as keys to a successful process.
  • The final session of conference was given by Amy L. Blaisdell, Esq. of Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C., entitled “30 Tips in 30 Minutes: What Every Manager Needs to Know.” The only negative to the session was that it was too short. Attendees were captivated and wished there had been more time to cover more of this material. The session offered some compliance pitfalls employers need to watch out for including:
    • -Require a second examination as soon as possible
    • -Obtain medical recertification for leaves as often as permitted under the law
    • -Clarify with physician if the employee can perform all essential functions of their job rather than seeking “full duty” release

The DMEC sponsored an informative, engaging conference with experts and authoritative speakers from around the country. Without exception, every session was packed with value information and real-life examples that provided engaging and informative content participants could use in their every day administrative activities with FMLA and ADAAA administration.