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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 video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will equip employment counsel with the tools to address current and emerging issues related to the increased focus on mental health in the post-pandemic workplace. 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, especially given the stressors accompanying the COVID-19 pandemic. Some estimate that 25 percent of those over 18 experience some 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 as employees begin returning to the workplace. Counsel should assist clients in designing and implementing policies and procedures that balance workplace concerns with the rights of employees experiencing 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 ADA covers mental/intellectual disabilities
  2. Best practices
    1. Accommodation requirements, including post-pandemic telework requests
    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 emotional 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 disability?
  • How must counsel communicate with juries regarding mental health claims to include diagnoses and qualifications 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/intellectual 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 course handouts.

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