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Mental Health Conditions in the Workplace: A Primer for Employers

(1k+ reviews)

Produced on September 28, 2018

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Course Information

Time 1h 1m
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Labor & Employment

Course Description

Disability discrimination charges accounted for 31.9% (or approximately 27,000) of the individual charges received by the EEOC in fiscal year 2017. Among the most common impairments alleged in these charges included anxiety disorder, depression, manic depressive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and “other psychological disorders." Every day, employers hear from advocates, lawyers, and pundits alike who proclaim the importance of accommodating employees with disabilities. But what happens when a disability is, for all intents and purposes, invisible? How should employers determine whether or not a disabled employee can be reasonably accommodated, and what information can employers seek in making that determination? And what happens when an employee’s psychological disability affects their conduct and/or job performance? Being able to counsel employers and HR professionals on how to timely and properly address these issues as they arise is critical to reducing the likelihood of expensive, protracted litigation.

This course, presented by Goldberg Segalla employment and labor attorneys Allison E. Ianni, Esq. and Michael S. Katzen, Esq., SPHR, SHRM-SCP, offers a primer for both outside and in-house legal counsel on how to analyze and address mental health conditions in the workplace with the goal of both avoiding litigation and putting an employer in a strong position to defend a lawsuit in the event litigation is inevitable.

Learning Objectives:
  1. Examine how mental disabilities are treated under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the ADA Amendments Act, and similar state and local laws
  2. Manage the process of receiving, analyzing and responding to employee accommodation requests
  3. Know the rules for when an employer can require a medical examination and what information an employer may obtain from an employee’s health care provider
  4. Review how an employer's obligation to accommodate an employee's disability affects the employee's obligation to meet the employer's performance standards and follow the employer's rules of conduct
  5. Compare how the ADA interacts with other laws, policies and benefits, including but not limited to, the FMLA, local paid sick leave ordinances, paid time off and COBRA
  6. Receive practical pointers from employment lawyers who regularly counsel employers on day-to-day accommodation issues on how to not only follow the law, but also reduce the likelihood of a lawsuit

Credit Information

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Michael Katzen

Goldberg Segalla

Michael Katzen, a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), and member of the firm’s Employment and Labor, Business and Commercial, and Health Care Practice Groups, devotes his practice to representing businesses and organizations in employment law matters.

Mike routinely defends employers, both directly and as Employment Practices Liability (EPL) panel counsel, in employment litigation matters brought in the state and federal courts of New Jersey and New York, as well as in alternative dispute resolution forums like the American Arbitration Association. Mike also represents employers before a wide variety of administrative agencies, including the U.S., New Jersey, and New York State departments of labor; the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights; the New York State Division of Human Rights; and the New York City Commission on Human Rights.

While much of his practice involves defending employers once a dispute has arisen, Mike also focuses a great deal of his practice on providing employers with practical advice to avoid lawsuits. Mike routinely counsels employers on day-to-day human resources (HR) and employment law issues, including employee discipline, terminations, discrimination/harassment, leaves of absence, overtime, independent contractor and unpaid intern/volunteer classifications, workplace accommodations, trade secrets, social media, and protected union-related activity. He audits employment practices, delivers management training, and assists employers in investigating allegations of employee misconduct such as theft and discrimination/harassment. Mike also prepares HR policies, employee handbooks, and employment contracts, as well as confidentiality, non-solicitation, and non-compete agreements.

While Mike represents employers from a wide variety of industries, he focuses particular attention on businesses in the health care, life sciences, and retail industries. Mike’s focus on the retail industry in particular has gained him experience representing retailers and developers in “public accommodation” cases under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Mike frequently trains and presents to attorneys, business groups, and clients on a variety of topics, including accommodating employees with disabilities under the ADA; the interaction of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), ADA, and workers’ compensation; the Affordable Care Act’s “employer mandate”; conducting effective workplace investigations; and avoiding wage/hour pitfalls.

Allison Ianni

Goldberg Segalla

Allison Ianni, a partner resident in the firm’s New York City office, counsels management on all aspects of employment law. She also defends employers of all sizes in employment-related litigation in state and federal courts, before administrative panels, and in other venues of alternative dispute resolution throughout New York State. She has represented clients in the media, higher education, insurance, hospitality, and retail industries, among others.

Allison regularly defends employers against claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wage and hour violations. She has served as lead counsel in federal and state employment discrimination cases as well as throughout administrative charges before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the New York State Division of Human Rights (NYSDHR), and the New York Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR), from inception to completion. She has also handled wage and hour complaints and investigations before the New York State Department of Labor.

A significant part of Allison’s practice involves counseling management on human resources issues, including hiring, evaluating, disciplining, and terminating employees; managing leaves of absence and other employee accommodations; drug testing; and wage and hour laws. In addition to advising on federal compliance issues, Allison leverages exceptionally deep knowledge of New York State- and City-specific laws and regulations, including the New York City Earned Sick Time Act, the New York City Paid Family Leave Law, the New York Labor Law, and more, to help clients mitigate risk and avoid investigations, enforcement actions, claims, and litigation. She also frequently conducts management and employee training, including Equal Employment Opportunity and anti-harassment/anti-discrimination training; conducts factual investigations in a variety of litigation and pre-litigation contexts; and drafts and revises employment-related documents including severance agreements, restrictive covenant agreements, employment agreements, personnel policies, and employee handbooks.

Allison also has experience advising and representing management and executives in a wide range of complex commercial litigation in state and federal courts, including matters involving shareholder, patent, real estate, and bankruptcy disputes.

After graduating cum laude from New York University with a bachelor’s in Journalism and English Literature, Allison attended Hofstra University School of Law. She served as notes and comments editor for the Hofstra Law Review, gained additional experience as a legal intern with the Hofstra University Office of General Counsel, and graduated cum laude.


Erin B.

Difficult area. Well presented.

Lauren K.

Excellent topic for everyone. I have a mentally disabled child and it gives me a lot to think about.

Kristen R.

THANK YOU! Great topic, exactly on point for our pandemic legal challenges.

Terrence G.

Excellent program.

Sherry M.

really good presentation

Sean V.

Very informative and easy to follow

Anthony M.

Good presntation

Karen Y.

Really enjoyed this.

Douglas T.

good info good interaction

Susana F.

Excellent. Thank you.

michael g.

Good overview of the many legal issues in the workplace.

Leonard G.

Great program. Well organized and well presented

Nicole T.


Kevin M.

Very informative, and as in-house counsel I really appreciated the practical advice

Steve H.

Well done

jill d.

Enjoyed the dual presentations style

Eric L.

Excellent presentation.

David T.

The discussion of the interaction between ADA and FMLA was insightful.

Rajesh N.

Excellent - learned a lot. Exactly what I needed.

Lauren C.

This was well presented and informative.

Trina R.

These two worked seamlessly to present it was very good, energetic and informative. Speaking was excellent

Ana M. M.


Scott D.

Enjoyed the dual presentation style.

Jennie B.

one of the best presentations in the employment bundle.

Susan F.

A nice change of pace to have two presenters. Very good information.

Anusha G.


Elizabeth W.

Helpful, practical information.

Jennifer S.

Great, useful CLE

Marian W.

I really enjoyed this course. It was informative and interesting. The practice advice was practical and useful. Very nice job!

Senna A.

I really enjoyed these presenters and having two of them made it that much more interesting. Thanks for a useful presentation on a common topic that many of us have to deal with if only tangentially.

Russell B.

Great Course; Even better Presenters; What more could you ask for?

Karen W.

The classes are always great

Barbara L.

Very informative.

kenneth H.

Good program.

Heather M.

Great presentation with lots of practical advice

Adria B.

Well done!

Michael Y.

I'm in a job now where I have general "non-legal" supervisory responsibility for the organization. This is extremely helpful information.

Karen W.

It is a very useful and practical topic. Thank you.

Lisa M.

Enjoyed the discussion on accommodation possibilities

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