Mental Health FMLA and ADA Issues: Preventing and Defending Claims

Covered Mental Health Concerns, Reasonable Accommodations, and Modern Trial Approaches

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926
Program Materials

This CLE webinar will equip employment counsel with the tools to address current and emerging issues relating to the increased focus on mental health. Employees with mental health concerns can pursue remedies under the ADA and the FMLA, therefore counsel must understand the steps to minimize potential exposure as employees seek protection and be aware of trial strategies if disputes arise.


Awareness of employee mental health issues presents challenges for employers and their counsel. Some estimate that 25 percent of those over 18 experience some level of mental health problems each year and employees are requesting accommodations with increasing frequency. Mental health disabilities are broadly defined under the DSM-5 and even more broadly in some jurisdictions' statutory definitions.

Employment counsel must proactively prepare clients for responding to ADA accommodation requests and FMLA leave-of-absence requests. Counsel should assist clients in designing and implementing policies and procedures that balance workplace concerns with the rights of employees addressing mental health issues.

Even with the best-designed policies and carefully honed practices, litigation is often the ultimate reality. Employment trial counsel must educate the trier of fact on the nature and extent of mental disorders. Further, discovery and summary judgment strategies may eliminate the risks of trial.

Listen as our distinguished panel provides best practices that serve as a foundation for effective litigation strategies. The panelists will discuss trial techniques specific to mental health claims, including jury education, new summary judgment strategies, experts, and causation issues.



  1. How Are Mental Disabilities Covered Under the ADA
  2. Best practices
    1. Accommodation requirements
    2. Interactive process requirements
    3. Misconduct / Direct Threat
    4. Interplay with FMLA
  3. Litigation strategies
    1. Educating the jury
    2. Summary judgment techniques
    3. Use of experts
    4. Latest developments on causation


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What mental and intellectual conditions does the ADA now cover?
  • What are the steps for employers in an interactive process for investigating reasonable accommodations? Is cost a consideration?
  • When does the direct threat defense apply?
  • How do the ADA and FMLA overlap and interact where an employee has a mental or intellectual disability?
  • How must counsel communicate with juries regarding mental health claims to include diagnoses and qualification as a disability?
  • What are effective summary judgment and trial strategies? When and how to use expert testimony?
  • How do the recent developments with causation apply to mental health disability claims?


Mook, Jonathan
Jonathan R. Mook


Mr. Mook is a nationally recognized authority on the ADA and is the author of two treatises, “Americans with...  |  Read More

Morris, Frank
Frank C. Morris, Jr.

Epstein Becker & Green

Mr. Morris leads the firm’s Employment, Labor and Workforce Management Practice in the Washington, D.C., office,...  |  Read More

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Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording. All formats include program handouts.

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