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Mental Disabilities In The Workplace: Reasonable Accommodations and Strategies for Avoiding, Pursuing and Defending Litigation



Provided By: New York City Bar

Approved for CLE credit in: AK,AZ,CA,ME,MO,ND,NJ,NY,WV

The Americans with Disabilities Act and New York anti-discrimination laws afford mental and physical disabilities equal protection in the workplace. While physical impairments previously have received the lion's share of attention, employees are more frequently disclosing mental impairments and requesting accommodations. They also are submitting a growing number of mental disability discrimination charges to government agencies such as the EEOC. Join representatives of the plaintiffs' bar, defense bar, and an accommodations expert in discussing the common issues and delicate problems that confront employees and employers contending with mental disabilities in the workplace. Topics will include: protected vs. unprotected mental disabilities, reasonable and unreasonable accommodations, misconduct issues and direct threat, strategies for pursuing and defending against mental disability discrimination claims, and how to deal with the psychiatrist (including the use and misuse of mental health professionals) before and after litigation commences.

This program was recorded on October 27th, 2008.

  • Introductory Remarks
  • Definition of Disability & Coverage of Mental Impairments under Applicable Laws
  • Reasonable Accommodations for Persons with Mental Disabilities under Applicable Laws
  • Reasonable Accommodations for Persons with Mental DisabilitiesPractical Approaches
  • Misconduct Issues & Direct Threat under Applicable Laws
  • The Use & Misuse of Mental Health Professionals
  • Strategies for Defending & Pursuing Mental Disability Claims
  • Question / Answer Session

    This program was recorded on October 27th, 2008.

  • CLE Credit Information

    Click on the state abbreviation to find the CLE Credit Information for your state.

    This program is has been approved for credit in AK,AZ,CA,ME,MO,ND,NJ,NY,WV

    Experienced attorneys only (non-transitional)

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    Panelist Biographies

    Kendra Duckworth

    Lead Consultant Cognitive/Neurological Team
    Job Accommodation Network

    John P. Herrion

    Director of Disability Rights
    NYS Division of Human Rights

    John P. Herrion is an attorney with extensive experience in disability rights. In March 2008, Mr. Herrion became Director of Disability Rights for the New York State Division of Human Rights. In this capacity he assists with enforcement of the New York State’s Human Rights Law provisions that prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities. Prior to working at the New York State Division of Human Rights, Mr. Herrion was Counsel to the United Spinal Association for twelve years, where he represented and assisted persons with disabilities on a wide variety of issues relating to employment, housing and access to places of public accommodation. Mr. Herrion has published numerous articles and has lectured extensively, including Continuing Legal Education programs for attorneys, on the rights of persons with disabilities. He is a past Chair and Secretary of the New York City Bar Association’s Committee on Legal Issues Affecting Persons with Disabilities. Mr. Herrion holds a law degree from Pace University School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Manhattan College.

    Valdi Licul

    Vladeck Waldman Elias & Englehard, PC

    Stephen P. Sonnenberg

    Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP

    Stephen P. Sonnenberg


    Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP

    Stephen Sonnenberg works exclusively in the representation of private employers in all aspects of employment law, including wrongful discharge, discrimination, sexual harassment, and wage/hour matters; and in proceedings before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, California Fair Employment and Housing Commission, and the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement.

    Prior to studying law, Mr. Sonnenberg practiced psychotherapy as a licensed clinical social worker in a variety of private and public settings, ranging from private practice to a psychiatric hospital. Because of his background as a psychotherapist, Mr. Sonnenberg has particular experience in the areas of mental disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act, emotional distress damages, and the use and misuse of psychiatric and psychological experts.

    Mr. Sonnenberg has frequently lectured on these topics for organizations such as the National Employment Law Institute, the American Bar Association, the Institute for Applied Management and Law, and the Los Angeles Employers Group. He also has provided training on these topics to corporate counsel and human resource personnel of clients of the Firm. Mr. Sonnenberg has authored a number of articles regarding employment law; his most recent article, Coping with Mental Disabilities in the Workplace: Tips for Employers, was published in Workforce and Employee Benefit News.

    Mr. Sonnenberg received his B.A. degree, with honors, from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1974. He received his M.S.W. degree from the University of Michigan in 1977. He received his J.D. degree from the University of Southern California Law Center in 1992. While there, he was a senior editor of the Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal.

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    No bundle available.
    Pricing Information

    Mental Disabilities In The Workplace: Reasonable Accommodations and Strategies for Avoiding, Pursuing and Defending Litigation



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