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The Big Three: ADA, FMLA and Workers’ Compensation


By: J’Mella Hinkston


September 24, 2018


Before We Start:

American with Disabilities Act – The ADA prohibits discrimination against applicants and employees who are “qualified individuals with a disability.”
Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 – The FMLA sets minimum leave standards for employees for the birth and care of a newborn child, placement of a child for adoption or foster care, care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition, and an employee’s serious health condition.
Workers’ Compensation – Workers’ compensation laws provide for payment of compensation and rehabilitation for workplace injuries, and minimize employer liability.
The three-strand cord of ADA, FMLA, and Workers’ Compensation is not one that can be easily unwound. Trying to remember which law is applicable to the situation at hand can make the head of the most knowledgeable HR professional swirl; however, understanding the fundamentals of each law will keep you and your organization out of hot water. Let’s begin, shall we?

The Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaidjob-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.

Workers’ Compensation provides wage replacement benefits, medical treatment, vocational rehabilitation and other benefits to employees who experience work-related injury or occupational disease.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in the following areas: employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications and access to state and local government programs and services.

That was a lot, I know! However, HR professionals need to understand the interplay of ADA, FMLA, and Workers’ Compensation laws to avoid violations resulting in loss wages, back pay, reinstatement, punitive damages, compensable damages and retroactive benefits. We do so by asking the right questions:


Workers’ Compensation:



Areas of interplay:

Employer coverage:

Employee eligibility:

Length of leave:

Medical documentation:



We don’t always know what we don’t know until an issue arises. Do yourself a favor, and connect with FMLA, ADA, and Worker’s Comp gurus who don’t mind sharing their intellectual property with you. The more data you’re armed with, the least likely you are to drop the ball. Handle each law with care, as it’s our duty to ensure moral and ethical practices are upheld fairly and consistently throughout our organizations.

Posted by in Blog, Human Resources

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