The Intersection of the FMLA and the ADA
By Geoffrey Simpson
Director of Sales & Marketing
By now, you may be an expert on the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and its many requirements. But what about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and when it overlaps with the FMLA? It’s important to know where these laws differ and when they intersect in order to fine-tune your ADA best practices.
While the FMLA provides job-protected leave, the ADA is an antidiscrimination policy that was not specifically created to provide leave. Whereas the FMLA applies to employers with at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius, the ADA applies to employers with as few as 15 employees with no geographical constraints. The FMLA also grants time to care for the serious health conditions of qualifying family members, whereas the ADA does not.
Under the ADA, an employer must provide reasonable accommodation to employees to allow them to perform the essential functions of their jobs, unless this would cause “undue hardship” to the employer. Many employers became aware of the overlap of the FMLA and ADA following court decisions that leave is appropriate as a reasonable accommodation.
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