ADA Leave Options After FMLA Exhaustion

The relationship between ADA leave and FMLA can be confusing for many employees. Both laws cover work-leave, but they have different requirements and apply to different types of employers.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) covers employees with disabilities, while the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) covers employees who need time off to care for themselves or family members with serious health conditions.

It is important for employers and employees to understand the distinction between these laws and how they can work together to provide the best care and protection for employees.

Understanding ADA Leave Options after FMLA Exhaustion

Employees who have exhausted their job-protected FMLA leave, but still need more time off due to their disability, can request a leave of absence as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

ADA After FMLA Exhaustion Letter to Employee

Employers must respond to the employee’s request for an ADA leave with a letter that notifies them of their rights and responsibilities under the ADA, including the right to request reasonable accommodation. The letter should also request additional information from the employee, if necessary, to determine if the requested leave is reasonable and will not cause an undue hardship on the business.

Reasonable Accommodations under the ADA

Reasonable accommodations under the ADA may include adjustments to the employee’s work schedule or duties, allowing for a flexible work environment, or providing assistive technology. Employers are required to consider all reasonable accommodations suggested by the employee and should engage in an interactive process to identify possible accommodations that would enable the employee to perform the essential functions of their job.

Interactive Process

The interactive process is a dialogue between the employer and employee to determine effective accommodations for the disabled employee. An employer must identify the essential functions of the job, assess the individual’s limitations and needs, and evaluate the effectiveness of available accommodations.

The ultimate goal is to identify and implement reasonable accommodations to enable the employee to perform the essential functions of the job.

Ways Employers Can Avoid ADA Violations

When the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave has been exhausted, employees may require further accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employers can take several steps to prevent ADA violations while ensuring compliance with the law.

Documenting the Interactive Process

Employers must document the interactive process with employees that require ADA accommodations. This process involves an open dialogue between the employer and employee to determine the employee’s specific accommodation needs.

Documenting the conversations, agreements, and plans made during the process can protect the employer from future claims of non-compliance by the employee.

Training for Supervisors and Management

Training for supervisors and management is critical to ensure compliance with the ADA regulations. Supervisors and management teams must have adequate knowledge of the ADA requirements and understand the steps needed to comply with the law.

The training can include providing information on how to identify requests for accommodation, handling requests, and documenting the interactive process with employees seeking accommodation.

Staying Up-to-Date on Legal Developments

Staying current with ADA regulations and legal developments is crucial for an employer to remain compliant. Employers must stay up-to-date on any changes or updates made to the ADA regulations to ensure that all relevant policies are in place.

It is also essential to monitor any legal developments and court decisions regarding ADA compliance to avoid potential violations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is ADA leave?

ADA leave is a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act that employers must provide to employees with disabilities, unless it can be proven as an undue hardship.

What can employers do to avoid ADA violations?

Employers can avoid ADA violations by providing company-wide training on disability inclusion, ensuring website accessibility, and supporting employees with disabilities.

What happens if an employer violates the ADA?

Employers who violate the ADA may face penalties such as monetary damages or injunctive relief, and could be found to have engaged in unlawful discrimination.


When an employee exhausts their FMLA leave, they may still have rights under the ADA if they meet the definition of a person with a disability. Employers must provide unpaid leave as a reasonable accommodation unless they can show it would cause undue hardship.

To empower employees with disabilities in the workplace, companies should implement training on disability inclusion, provide support, and communicate their disability plan internally. Employers should also audit their website accessibility, use ADA-dedicated plugins and experts, learn about accessibility requirements, and remediate any issues that arise to prevent ADA lawsuits.


Lora Turner

Lora Turner is an Experienced HR professional worked with the large organizations and holding 15 years of experience dealing with employee benefits. She holds expertise in simplifying the leave for the employee benefits. Contact us at: [email protected]