Essentials of Federal and Virginia Disability Law (On Demand Seminar)

MCLE Credits: 2.0
Ethics Credits Included: 0.0

MCLE Credit: 2.0 (Ethics: 0.0)
Live-Interactive Credit: 0.0
Price: $149 (Includes a downloadable audio version.)
Viewable Through: 12/31/2023


A pre-recorded streaming video replay of the August 2020 webcast, Essentials of Federal and Virginia Disability Law.

Course Outline

  • Get an overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Virginians with Disabilities Act (VDA)
  • Understand potential litigation issues

Virginia CLE® Essentials seminars are designed to get straight to the heart of what you need to know to succeed. These seminars are ideal whether you are a new attorney, a veteran checking in on current best practices, or considering expanding to a new practice area.

In this program, experienced employment lawyers and litigators Merrell Renaud and Suzzanne Decker will cover these topics:

  • Overview and applicability of the ADA
    • Definitions of “qualified individual,” “essential functions,” and “disability”
    • Record of disability, or perception of having disability
      • Prior health issues/chronic conditions
      • Assumptions about health and abilities
    • Conduct prohibited under the ADA
      • Hiring and other employment actions
      • Failure to accommodate
    • Reasonable accommodation 
      • Interaction process
    • The prohibition on retaliation
  • Overview and applicability of the Virginia Disabilities Act and Virginia Values Act
    • VDA
      • Employee rights and employer responsibilities
      • Procedures under the VDA
      • Remedies allowed by the VDA
    • VVA
      • Pregnancy discrimination and accommodation
  • Litigation issues, including:
    • Standards for determining whether an employer discriminated on the basis of disability
    • Forum considerations
    • Medical examinations, inquiries, and disclosure of medical information
      • Drug testing/examinations
      • Covid-specific inquiries
    • Interaction with other leave laws
      • ADA
      • Any differences in applicability
      • Difference in employer obligations
      • Difference in recovery
      • FMLA
      • Eligibility differences
      • Employer obligations for leave
      • Overlay with workers’ compensation issues
      • FFCRA
      • Eligibility differences
      • Employer obligations with paid leave
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Suzzanne W. Decker, Miles & Stockbridge / Baltimore, MD

Suzzanne W. Decker is a principal in her firm's Baltimore office. She represents businesses in all aspects of employer-employee relations.

Ms. Decker's litigation experience includes defending employers in matters including wage and hour issues, discrimination and harassment, family medical leave, and ERISA denial of benefits. She has also assisted companies with non-competition agreement enforcement and breach of contract claims.

Ms. Decker advises employers of all sizes on employment law matters, including preventing sexual and other harassment in the workplace and litigation avoidance in employee hirings, terminations and medical leave administration. She also has extensive experience assisting federal contractors to meet their obligations including the Department of Labor’s Davis-Bacon and Service Contract Act regulations as well as the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program’s affirmative action requirements.

In addition to employment matters, Ms. Decker advises and defends clients with respect to the Fair Housing Act, Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and various state and local public accommodation requirements.

Merrell B. Renaud, Miles & Stockbridge / Tysons

Merrell Renaud, of counsel in the Northern Virginia office of Miles & Stockbridge, is an employment lawyer and litigator with nearly 25 years of experience advising public and private corporations on all aspects of employment law. Her practice focuses on employment counseling and employment litigation on behalf of management, with an emphasis on counseling government contractors.

Ms. Renaud is the author of Chapter 4, “State and Federal Disabilities Acts,” in the Virginia CLE® publication Employment Law in Virginia. She counsels and defends clients on a wide variety of employment-related matters, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, Family Medical Leave Act, restrictions against unfair competition, and claims of discrimination in violation of Title VII, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act issues. A large part of her practice is devoted to ensuring that clients comply with applicable federal and state employment laws by conducting employment audits, reviewing corporate handbooks, assisting clients in conducting internal investigations of claimed discrimination, and giving presentations on various employment law topics.

Ms. Renaud previously worked as an employment attorney at Squire Patton Boggs and also was an associate and then a partner with Hazel & Thomas.  

Before entering private practice, Ms. Renaud spent seven years as a trial attorney for the United States Department of Justice, Tax Division. During her tenure with the federal government, Ms. Renaud tried more than twenty cases in federal and state courts and took hundreds of depositions. Ms. Renaud is a 1991 graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center, where she earned an LL.M., and a 1985 graduate of the Albany Law School of Union University, where she earned a J.D.

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