Bipolar Disorder, Depression, ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome & More in California: Guide to Legally Managing Productivity

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
10:30 a.m. to Noon Pacific

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Are you and your line supervisors equipped to manage employees with mental conditions ranging from bipolar disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome (a form of high functioning autism), and more?

Both HR and line managers can benefit tremendously from learning how to spot and effectively–and legally–address the performance triumphs and challenges workers with mental conditions like these may experience.

Consider the following:

1) Throngs of Millennials are now entering the workforce–new hires who, if they have been identified as having “Special Education Disabilities” are likely to have received a variety of reasonable accommodations in school thanks to broad federal special education standards.

But, just because they were granted accommodations for completing projects and other academic tasks, are they entitled to the same types of accommodations under the FEHA at work?

Or, are there other reasonable accommodations necessary to allow them to perform essential job functions in an environment that is very different from the academic setting?

And, is granting those accommodations feasible for the organization?

In other words, would implementing such accommodations create an undue hardship for the organization?

It’s important for managers to recognize when these situations require a reasonable accommodation analysis and to understand how to address their employer’s responsibilities under ADA/FEHA. You have a duty to implement reasonable accommodation for an employee with a covered disability and given the broad expansion of the ADA through the ADA Amendments Act, more mental conditions may now qualify employees for ADA protection than ever before. The definition of disability under California FEHA is even broader, and the regulations effective as of January 2013 specifically identify learning disabilities and an array of mental disorders as “limitations of the major life activity of working,” and therefore are covered disabilities.

2) California’s Fair Employment & Housing Commission concluded that a company engaged in discrimination stemming from an employee’s non-industrial PTSD—the Commission found that placing the employee on five months of unpaid leave, then making a unilateral decision to return her to a 16-hour schedule that cut her pay and exposed her to layoff while rejecting, without explanation, her doctors and the company doctor’s reasonable accommodation request, violated its duty to reasonably accommodate her. As a result, the commission ordered the employer to pay nearly $90,000.

3) On a national scale, the EEOC recently settled a case alleging that a media company fired an employee because she had bipolar disorder. The company agreed to pay the employee nearly $50,000 as a result, in addition it must review and modify its policies to comply with the ADA. It also obtained a $135,000 settlement against a company that allegedly failing to reasonably accommodate an employee’s bipolar disorder by not extending a leave request

It’s important for front line managers, supervisors, and HR, especially here in California, to master several scenarios, specifically everyone must be equipped to:

  • Know how to spot situations where the ADA/FEHA may become an issue–so they can get you in HR involved from the get-go.
  • Understand the types of accommodations covered employees may require, so strategic steps can be taken to keep the team’s productivity train running strong.
  • Articulate the reasonable performance expectations that should be included in work agreements that are communicated and agreed upon by the employee.
  • Identify appropriate behavior standards in the workplace, so that if appropriate disciplinary action is warranted, your organization can lawfully address behaviors that may be caused by the disability itself.
  • Our upcoming webinar, designed specifically for California HR managers and line supervisors alike, will provide an overview of the key legal standards so everyone is equipped to manage the day-to-day performance and conduct issues that may arise when an employee has a mental condition that may affect mood, concentration, social skills, and more. Also, line managers will learn what not to do so they don’t misstep under the ADA/FEHA, FMLA/CFRA, or HIPPA and create potentially costly litigation for your organization.

    You and your colleagues will learn:

    • The types of symptoms employees with mood disorders and other mental conditions may exhibit, including a discussion about bipolar disorder, depression, ADHD, and conditions diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum (including Asperger’s Syndrome)
    • A perspective on how to handle behaviors that may be part of an employee’s “mild neurocognitive disorder,” “social pragmatic disorder,” “obsessive compulsive disorder,” or other mental or emotional conditions
    • When an employee with one or more of the above conditions may likely be entitled to an ADA/FEHA accommodation
    • How to recognize when an employee’s medication for a mood disorder may be contributing to fatigue or loss of concentration
    • What managers can do to help your employees maintain stamina throughout the workday
    • Tips on what supervisors can do to help employees perform essential functions when concentration, short term memory, or other cognitive functioning is impacted by a condition or medication
    • What a supervisor should do if an employee can’t seem to stay organized or fails to meet deadlines
    • How to draft a written work agreement laying out clear expectations, any applicable accommodations, and the consequences of not meeting specific performance standards
    • How to master day-to-day challenges that may arise from one’s difficulty in handling stress or keeping their emotions in check
    • Attendance issues that come to light when a mood disorder or other mental condition is present and how to avoid running afoul of stringent federal and California requirements for considering reasonable accommodations for erratic attendance or punctuality
    • Strategies for managing coworker interactions and tips on how to recognize harassment and eradicate bullying that may be occurring against affected employees
    • What supervisors and managers can do to help manage compliance risks under ADA/FEHA, FMLA/CFRA, and HIPAA

    In just 90 minutes, you’ll learn best practices for managing the day-to-day performance and conduct issues that may arise when an employee has a mental condition that may affect mood, concentration, social skills, and more.

    About your presenter:

    Attorney Patricia Eyres is the managing partner of Eyres Law Group, LLP, a specialized law practice focusing exclusively on helping employers in the areas of labor, employment and education law. Her clients range from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses, school districts and public agencies. In addition to guiding employers through the maze of risks associated with workplace discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims, she is an expert on return-to-work, reasonable accommodation and leave of absence compliance.

    As CEO/Publisher of Proactive Law Press, LLC, Ms. Eyres supervises the production and publication of books, training materials, educational products for business owners, managers and trainers. She is the author of four books and 350-plus articles in trade and professional journals on proactive legal management of the workplace.

    As founder and president of Litigation Management & Training Services, Inc., Ms. Eyres speaks internationally, consults with organizations on developing and enforcing effective policies, and trains managers to lead within legal limits. Her workshops focus on methods for preventing costly lawsuits or minimizing disruption when unavoidable claims occur.

    Ms. Eyres has earned the National Speakers Association’s Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation, the speaking profession’s highest international measure of professional platform skill and proven professional achievement. She was named a Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Platinum Speaker for 2006-2007. MPI Platinum Speaker designation denotes the top rated speakers at MPI National Conferences based on audience interaction, content, delivery, humor and professionalism. She is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences.

    This program has been approved for 1.5 recertification credit hours toward PHR and SPHR recertification through the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI). This program is also a California-specific continuing education activity for PHR-CA and SPHR-CA recertification. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit the HRCI homepage at www.hrci.org. The use of this seal is not an endorsement by HRCI of the quality of the program. It means that this program has met HRCI’s criteria to be pre-approved for recertification credit.

    The California Employer Resources is an approved MCLE Multiple Activity Provider, and this program has been approved for 1.5 hours of MCLE credit by the State Bar of California. For more information, please contact our customer service department at (800) 695-7178.

    How Do Webinars Work?

    A webinar is remarkably cost-effective and convenient. You participate from your office, using a regular telephone and a computer with an Internet connection. You have no travel costs and no out-of-office time.

    Plus, for one low price, you can get as many people in your office to participate as you can fit around a speakerphone and a computer screen.

    Because the conference is live, you can ask the speakers questions – either on the phone or via the webinar interface.

    You will receive access instructions via e-mail several days before the event. You don’t need any additional materials before the webinar starts. Your conference materials will be available for you to view, print, and download when you log in to participate in the event.

    Why You Can Sign Up To Attend This Event with Confidence

    If you are not completely satisfied after attending a California Employer Resources event, let us know, and we will refund 100% of your registration fee — no questions asked.