Volume 80, Number 6

December 2005

Toward Increased Notice of FMLA and ADA Protections

Debra L. Greenberger

The current notice regimes under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act provide insufficient notice to two groups of employees who might avail themselves of the Acts’protections: those who are ignorant or misinformed about their rights under the Acts and those who remain “in the closet” about their disability, consciously choosing to hide their need for accommodation or leave in order to avoid the accompanying stigma. To address these dilemmas, the author proposes a multi-part solution: First, employers should provide individual notice to their workers at regular intervals. Second, employers should notify employees of the Acts’ protections when an employee demonstrates a performance problem resulting from lack of accommodation or leave, as it is at that point that the employee might wish to come “out of the closet” to enjoy the Acts’ protections.