Course Details

Anxiety, Workplace Stress and PTSD: HR’s Accommodation and Performance Management Roadmap

About This Course:
Do you know when accommodations for an anxious worker are legally required? How far do you have to go?

In a recent case that's helpful for HR, a new hire for a popular sandwich franchise told her manager that she would need to take breaks from time to time because of an anxiety disorder. The employee provided medical documentation and her manager agreed to accommodate her request.

Shortly after being hired, she had an anxiety attack and asked to go home. According to the employee, her manager said he didn’t see the point in continuing if she was going to keep having attacks. While he didn’t tell her she was fired, she interpreted it that way. When she didn't show up for her next shift, she was terminated.

A federal court recently ruled that the employee’s claim that she was denied a reasonable accommodation for her anxiety disorder, and that she was fired because of her disability, could proceed to a jury trial.

This case underscores the importance of knowing how to address employee mental health related symptoms and issues in a manner that doesn’t run afoul of laws like the ADA or the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

What’s particularly challenging for HR and managers is that mental disabilities may not be as readily apparent as physical ones. This is tricky turf so don’t leave your compliance obligations to chance!

Join us for an all-new webinar on addressing requests for reasonable accommodations, and dealing with performance issues concerning employees who may have anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health-related conditions that may be covered under the ADA.

Learning Objectives
  • When anxiety disorder, PTSD and other mental conditions are protected under the ADA
  • What documentation you can request from an employee regarding the disability and need for a reasonable accommodation
  • What to do when an employee says that performance or attendance issues are related to workplace stress
  • Case studies of recent situations concerning anxious workers
  • Types of workplace accommodations a doctor may recommend for someone undergoing treatment for anxiety or other mental conditions
  • What to do if an employee has a panic attack while at work or claims the reason he can’t report to work is because of one
  • When a requested accommodation for an anxiety disorder is likely to be considered an undue hardship for an employer
  • How FMLA protects employees with anxiety disorder and those caring for family members with this or a similar diagnosis
  • When anxiety disorder is considered a serious health condition entitling an employee to block, intermittent, or reduced schedule FMLA leave
  • How to deal with performance issues and safety concerns that may arise when an employee’s medication affects his or her ability to perform job duties
  • Practical steps you can take to help anxious employees manage workloads, meet deadlines, reduce stress, and boost performance
  • How to engage in the interactive dialogue with someone who’s protected under ADA as a result of an anxiety-based mental disability, and identify reasonable accommodations that will enable the employee to perform essential job functions
About Your Presenter

Susan G. Fentin
Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C.,

Susan G. Fentin, a partner with Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C., practices in the firm’s Springfield, Massachusetts office. She has been named as a Super Lawyer in Massachusetts since 2008 and has been listed as one of the top labor and employment attorneys in Massachusetts by the prestigious Chambers & Partners rating agency. In 2015, she was named one of the top 50 women attorneys in Massachusetts. She teaches FMLA and ADA Master Classes on behalf of BLR and speaks frequently to employer groups about issues related to labor and employment. Prior to attending law school, she had a career in business and owned and operated her own company, giving her unique insight into the employment problems faced by business owners.
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