Injured Workers May Have Rights Under State Workers’ Comp Laws, the FMLA and the ADA

What Protections Do Workers’ Compensation Laws, the FMLA and the ADA Give Employees Who Suffer a Workplace Injury?


When an employee is injured at work, he or she may have rights and protections under several different state and federal laws. Under state workers’ compensation laws, injured employees are entitled to compensation and medical care.


The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave to employees diagnosed with a serious health condition. 


The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that requires employers to reasonably accommodate an employee who is disabled or perceived as disabled by removing any barriers that interfere with the employee’s ability to perform his or her job. 


Although workers' compensation laws, the FMLA and the ADA provide distinct protections for employees, they intersect in meaningful ways. It is important for injured workers to understand when each law kicks in and how to maximize the protections they each provide.


How Do Workers’ Comp Laws, the FMLA and the ADA Intersect?


State workers’ compensation laws, the FMLA and the ADA overlap primarily regarding the issue of leave time. A workers’ comp claim that results in a temporary total disability finding may be treated as a serious health condition eligible for FMLA leave while also qualifying as a disability under the ADA that requires leave as a reasonable accommodation.


Injured employees attempting to navigate the three laws should remember the following:


  • If you are collecting temporary total disability under a workers’ comp claim, your employer can require you to use FMLA leave time during your time out of work
  • If you use up all 12 weeks of your FMLA leave while recovering from your work-related injuries, you may be entitled to additional leave time If your medical condition meets the ADA’s definition of disability
  • Your employer must notify you when your leave time will be designated as FMLA leave and specify the amount of time that will count against your FMLA leave entitlement 
  • You must give your employer 30-day advance notice before taking FMLA leave when the need for FMLA leave is foreseeable and such notice is practicable. If the need is not foreseeable, you must give notice as soon as practicable under the facts and circumstances of your case 


Atlanta Workers’ Comp Attorney Christina Campbell Can Help You Navigate Complex Leave Issues After An On-The-Job Injury

If you have been injured at work and require extensive leave time while recovering from your injuries, Ms. Campbell can help protect your right to compensation, medical care and leave benefits.

This update has been prepared by The Campbell Law Practice for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.