Throughout the year, HR professionals and attorneys ask me for my recommendations on the very best conferences to learn more about the FMLA and ADA.  The “best,” of course, is in the eye of the beholder.  In my humble opinion, however, the conferences highlighted below are can’t miss seminars if you want to expand your knowledge of the FMLA and ADA or if you spend much of your professional lives in these areas:

Two Can’t Miss Seminars

NELI’s ADA & FMLA Compliance Update: For nearly 40 years, the National Employment Law Institute (NELI) has been the national leader in training professionals of all kinds in the ADA and FMLA (and in employment law generally).  NELI caters to management side folks – you’re not going to find many plaintiff-side attorneys in the this room, which allows us to cover topics near and dear to us. To be clear, NELI is not going to knock your socks off with a flashy brochure or some frilly web site. Instead, NELI spends its resources on convening the very best two-day seminar on all things ADA and FMLA.

These seminars typically are held in April in Chicago (April 16-17), San Francisco (April 2-3) and Washington, DC (April 30-May 1).  This year’s information can be accessed here.  On day one, you’ll get your fill of David Fram, who is perhaps the most engaging speaker you’ll encounter on the ADA circuit.  A former EEOC trial attorney, David follows every ADA decision issued in the Union and offers his invaluable insight to help you deal with the most sensitive ADA issues.  His excitement about the ADA is contagious, and he offers plenty for everyone – whether you are an HR representative fighting on the front lines or the seasoned litigator looking for a new legal angle to advance.  If Fram’s excitment doesn’t rub off upon leaving NELI, you haven’t paid attention. On day two, NELI turns to the FMLA. If you’re attending NELI in Chicago, you have the misfortune of hearing me present on the latest in the world of FMLA.  (However, I’m appropriately balanced by FMLA fashionista, Ellen McLaughlin, so all is not lost.)

Pushing my own conferences, you say?  Before you start using my name in the same sentence with Tom Brady and deflatable footballs, keep in mind that I attended this annual seminar for over ten years before I was fortunate enough to join the faculty.  After the first seminar I attended way back when, I was hooked and wouldn’t miss again.  Neither should you.  Whether you are on the east or west coast, or somewhere in between near the windy city, sign up now.  Information about the seminar can be accessed here and the brochure is downloadable here (pdf).

If you cannot make the conference, NELI provides an excellent binder of materials that I keep by my side and reference throughout the year.  Consider this as a back up if you cannot attend the conference itself. (If you attend, you’ll receive it as part of your admission.)

DMEC’s ADA & FMLA Compliance Conference:  You’re not seeing double. Because you cannot get enough of the FMLA and ADA, you also should make time for the ADA & FMLA Compliance Conference sponsored in April each year by the Disability Management Employer Coalition. DMEC is a fabulous non-profit organization devoted to integrated disability and absence management for employers.  Any employer should join if they want to improve their integration of disability/absence management.

Over the past few years, DMEC has put together an absolute gem of a compliance conference focusing exclusively on FMLA and ADA.  This conference brings together the finest of FMLA and ADA nerds (which I wear as a badge of honor), and every attendee leaves with practical approaches on properly administering FMLA, fighting FMLA abuse, understanding various FMLA and ADA processes, learning key skills to identify reasonable accommodations in the workplace, and so much more.

At this year’s conference, which will be held April 20-22 just outside Washington, DC, I am delighted to co-present with EEOC Commissioner Victoria Lipnic on the EEOC’s recent pregnancy discrimination guidance and how employers should best manage accommodations for pregnant employees. I’ll also be addressing confusing state leave laws with Megan Holstein of Reed Group, and will be part of a panel of experts (or so they call us) answering your FMLA and ADA questions for free.  [Ahem, how often do you find an attorney offering free advice? Take it while you can!]

Access the conference program here (pdf), and tell me this three-day conference isn’t everything you’ve been searching for in a comprehensive compliance conference!

See you in April.

Other Reliable Resources

What else can I offer you in terms of FMLA and ADA resources?  You mean other than this blog?  <<smirk>>

  • One (more) shameless plug: Access my FMLA webinars that cover topics ranging from FMLA abuse to medical certification to the latest FMLA trends.  All of my webinars (and the Power Points from these presentations) can be accessed here.  [You didn't think I'd go without endorsing my own products, right?  After all, I do have four young kids I eventually have to put through college!]
  • If you’re interested in a monthly FMLA and ADA update (and even more regular updates online), try Thompson’s FMLA Handbook.  Its monthly newsletters are excellent, and it keeps me up to date on the latest FMLA and ADA court decisions that I should worry about.  Very professional and well done.  It’s worth the expense.