Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Learning the Law

Major changes have taken place with two important HR laws: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). On Friday, March 20, at 2 p.m. EST, Theresa Gallion, an attorney with Fisher & Phillips LLP in Tampa, Florida, will host a webinar on these changes and how they can affect your business. In the meantime, FUNWORLD editors caught up with Gallion to briefly discuss what webinar attendees can expect from this session.

FUNWORLD: What will be the main focus of your webinar?
Theresa Gallion:
The focus of this Webinar will be changes of two federal employment laws: the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Act. The Americans with Disabilities Act applies to every American employer with at least 15 employees. Therefore, I believe that the vast majority of entities in the attractions industry will be interested in these developments. The federal FMLA has more expansive coverage and applies only to larger businesses with at least 50 employees in a 75-mile radius. The federal FMLA guarantees covered employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain medical or familial needs.

FW: Some of our members have small operations or are operated by nonprofits or local governments. Are there differences in how these HR laws affect them?
The fact that an entity is not for profit is not meaningful in terms of coverage by either the ADA or the FMLA. Governmental entities, however, do have some different rights and obligations. My experience has been that governmental entities usually have their co-extensive rules and regulations, so there is not likely to be any significant difference.

FW: In a difficult economic year, how can refining HR strategies help with the bottom line?
This is, indeed, a very down year economically. It is vital they participate in the webinar to get a sense of how the regulations will impact them, what steps they can take to manage those costs and expenses, and how they can protect the bottom line while at the same time complying with the law. For smaller businesses, one easy step they can take is to ensure they never have 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius. This ensures that the federal FMLA never applies.

FW: What can attendees expect to take away from this session and apply to their operations?
This is designed as an interactive session. Each person will have access to the PowerPoint. At the conclusion, I will be providing free materials, which provide a step-by-step method to comply with these laws and to implement the regulations should they apply.

For more information about IAAPA webinars and other educational opportunities, click here.

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