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Disability, Leave and Health Management

Employers are faced with an increasing number of—and often conflicting—federal, state and local laws impacting how to manage employees with disabilities, illness and family/personal obligations.

Overview

Our Disability, Leave & Health Management Practice Group takes a multi-disciplinary and collaborative approach to addressing the complexity of disability, leave and health management issues so that employers can maintain legal compliance. At all times, our goal is to help employers reduce the risk of employment litigation, decrease the costs associated with absent and under-productive employees, help contain health care-related expenses, and promote employee health, safety and wellness.

As part of our legal services, we assist employers with navigating complex leave administration questions that require an understanding of federal, state and local laws such as the FMLA, state leave laws, ADA, GINA, HIPAA, COBRA and ERISA. We also offer practical advice on integrating legal obligations under those laws with company paid time-off, disability and group health benefit programs. Some of the specific services we provide include:

  • Reviewing and developing leave and attendance policies;
  • Reviewing and developing template forms and letters used to administer leaves of absence and to process reasonable accommodation requests;
  • Reviewing and developing management guidelines to assist in administering and integrating leave and benefit programs in compliance with federal and state laws;
  • Monitoring and summarizing state leave laws, including a rapidly growing number of state and local paid sick leave laws, to guide day-to-day decision-making for employees who are absent or on leave;
  • Providing legal advice on individual leave and accommodation issues; and
  • Training on integrated disability and absence management compliance obligations.

In addition, our litigation attorneys have extensive experience defending employers against legal challenges to disability management decisions before courts and administrative agencies, including class action litigation.

ADA Title III

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (Title III) requires virtually every business that provides goods and services to the public to make its products and facilities accessible to individuals with disabilities. These Title III mandates create complicated compliance issues that many businesses are only beginning to grapple with and understand. Read More

Wellness Programs

Despite their popularity, wellness programs are drawing increased scrutiny under a variety of federal laws such as the ADA, GINA, Title VII, the ADEA, the EPA, HIPAA, ERISA and the ACA. Depending on the wellness program design, state law may also regulate these programs. We were one of the first law firms to write and speak about the... Read More

The Team

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Jun 15

Melville, NY
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SHRM Long Island Breakfast Series: Lessons Learned After a Decade of Aggressive Federal Agency Enforcement

June 15, 2017 - 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM EST
1350 Old Walt Whitman Road - Melville, NY
Credits: HRCI - 1.5, SHRM - 1.5
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Jun 22

Riverhead, NY
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SHRM Long Island Breakfast Series: Jackson Lewis Presents: Take Your HR Professional To Work Day

June 22, 2017 - 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM EST
1830 Route 25 - Riverhead, NY
Credits: HRCI - 1.5, SHRM - 1.5
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Jul 20

Melville, NY
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SHRM Long Island Breakfast Series: The Inevitable Facts of Life for HR Professionals

July 20, 2017 - 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM EST
1350 Old Walt Whitman Road - Melville, NY
Credits: HRCI - 1.5, SHRM - 1.5
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Preparing for 2018: The New ERISA Regulations for Disability Claims and Appeals

April 27, 2017 - 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM EST
Credits: CLE - Pending*, HRCI - Pending, SHRM - Pending
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Archived

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California Legal Update Webinar Series

October 26, 2016 - 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM PST
Credits: CLE - Pending, HRCI - Pending, SHRM - Pending
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Archived

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It Pays to Be Sick: Executive Order 13706 and What it Means for Federal Contractors

October 20, 2016 - 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM EST
Credits: CLE - 1.0/1.2*, HRCI - 1.0, SHRM - 1.0
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May 23, 2017

Pittsburgh to Appeal Block of City’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

May 23, 2017

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has affirmed a lower court’s ruling invalidating the Pittsburgh Paid Sick Days Act (“PSDA”), the ordinance adopted in 2015 requiring all employers of employees within the Pittsburgh city limits to provide paid sick leave to all full- and part-time employees. The Mayor’s office has confirmed that it... Read More

May 17, 2017

Draft Regulations on Cook County, Illinois, Paid Sick Leave Released

May 17, 2017

Draft regulations that will govern its interpretation and enforcement of the Cook County “Earned Sick Leave” Ordinance have been released by the Cook County Commission on Human Rights. The final regulations will be adopted by June 1, 2017, according to the Commission. The Ordinance, which becomes law effective July 1, 2017, mandates... Read More

May 12, 2017

Georgia Laws Endorse ‘On Call Scheduling’ Practice and Provide Limited Paid Sick Leave Protections

May 12, 2017

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has signed into law a measure preempting any local wage laws or requirements that employers compensate employees for changes related to employee schedules. Act 221 (H.B. 243) continues Georgia’s tradition of promoting an employer-friendly environment, particularly for retail businesses and restaurants. A... Read More

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May 24, 2017
SHRM

Matthew Nieman Comments on the Need for Substance Abuse Policies in the Workplace

May 24, 2017

Matthew Nieman comments on the need for employers to review and update their substance abuse policies and drug-testing practices due to American workers testing positive for drugs at the highest rate since 2004 in "Uptick in Positive Drug Tests Shows Need to Revisit Employment Policies," published by SHRM. Subscription may be... Read More

May 19, 2017
Advisen Front Page News

Michelle Phillips Comments on Employers Creating Equality in their Workforce for LGBT Employees

May 19, 2017

Michelle Phillips comments on employers becoming increasingly proactive in creating equality in their workforce for LGBT employees in "Combating Transgender Discrimination in the Workforce," published by Advisen Front Page News. Subscription may be required to view article Read More

May 16, 2017
WBTV News

Matthew Nieman Comments on the Increase of Substance Abuse in the Workplace

May 16, 2017

Matthew Nieman comments on the on-going threat to workplace safety posed by substance abuse in "Increases in Illicit Drugs, Including Cocaine, Drive Workforce Drug Positivity to Highest Rate in 12 Years, Quest Diagnostics Analysis Finds," published by WBTV News. Subscription may be required to view article Read More

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Employer’s Refusal to Hire Medical Marijuana User Violates State Law, Rhode Island State Court Holds
May 25, 2017

Employers cannot refuse to hire a medical marijuana cardholder, even if the individual admittedly would not pass the employer’s pre-employment drug test required of all applicants, a Rhode Island state court has held under the state medical marijuana law. Callaghan v. Darlington Fabrics Corp., et al., No. PC-2014-5680 (R.I. Super. Read More

New York’s Highest Court Asked to Decide Whether New York City Human Rights Law Protects Mistaken Perception of Alcoholism
May 25, 2017

New York’s highest court, the New York Court of Appeals, has been asked to decide the question of whether the New York City Human Rights Law permits a claim of disability discrimination based solely on a perception of untreated alcoholism. Makinen v. City of New York, et. al., Docket Nos. Read More

New Federal Railway Administration Requirements For Maintenance-Of-Way Workers Take Effect June 12, 2017
May 24, 2017

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration’s (“FRA”) final rule expanding drug and alcohol testing to maintenance-of-way (“MOW”) employees takes effect on June 12, 2017. Read More