April 21, 2020
National legal experts Tamika Newson and Ellen McCann discuss recent guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on how the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) impacts employers in the COVID-19 environment. Early on, the EEOC declared COVID-19 as a “direct threat” to the workplace. This means if an employee with COVID-19 presents themselves in the workplace, employers have an opportunity under the ADA to ask specific questions about their symptoms, direct them to not come to the workplace, and monitor when and how they return to work. We discuss this new guidance and best practices for granting accommodations under the ADA during the pandemic.
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Assistant Vice President and Legal Counsel, Unum's employment law group
Tamika Newson joined Unum after 22 years of employment law counseling and litigation as a partner in several large law firms. Prior to joining Unum, she litigated employment matters nationwide. Tamika advises Human Resources on all employment-related legal issues, with particular emphasis on FMLA, ADA, leaves of absence, wage/hour compliance, military leaves, restrictive covenants and employee-relations issues. She also provides daily legal support to Unum's Leave Management Center and its ADA Services Center. Tamika received her BA from DePauw University and her JD from Hamline University School of Law (now Mitchell Hamline). She is a certified trainer for CE credit and is a frequent national speaker on FMLA and ADA. She has been selected as a “Best Lawyer in America” in the area of employment law every year from 2013 to 2019.
Assistant Vice President of Unum Solutions
Ellen McCann has expertise in leave management, specifically the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As Assistant Vice President, Unum Solutions, she combines more than 30 years of employment law experience with practical knowledge of the complexities of leave and accommodation management to create solutions that help employers manage the complex leave process. Currently, she supports Total Leave, Unum’s digital leave management solution, and Unum Vaccine Verifier, a simple, secure way to verify vaccination status, manage exemptions and manage COVID testing compliance.
Previously, Ellen worked in the Employment Law Group, providing support to Unum’s Absence Management Center and advised Human Resources on employment-related legal issues for more than 20 years. She worked at Davis, Malm & D’Agostine law firm in Boston prior to joining Unum. She is also a certified trainer for the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM).
Unum Content Marketing Manager
Clare Morin is the Content Marketing Manager at Unum and a journalist who’s spent the last 20 years interviewing hundreds of thought leaders on topics ranging from wellness to culture, finance, human resources and technology. Born in the UK, raised in Hong Kong and based in the U.S. since 2009, she brings a global outlook to the HR Trends studio.