Integrated Disability and Workforce Management Program
Workers’ compensation claims, employee health care, reasonable accommodation and leave management policies, compliance with state and federal regulations, litigation, and transactional matters — all these challenges and costs are part of the operational landscape for employers competing in any industry. Unfortunately, most employers are not equipped to treat these issues like a landscape — that is, with adaptable, efficient, and global solutions. In reality, all of these concerns are intricately connected; but when in-house counsel, administrators, and outside attorneys from different specialist or “Big Law” firms tackle them separately, the byproducts are often cost-inefficiencies, liability, and greater risk.
We developed the Integrated Disability and Workforce Management Program to mitigate those costs and correct those inefficiencies. The program offers comprehensive solutions to disability, leave, performance, and health management issues, adaptable to any situation, any budget, and any set any of needs. Drawing selectively on the full scope of our firm’s collective experience, we are able to provide our clients with a 360-degree assessment, address inefficiencies, and craft comprehensive and cost-efficient solutions.
Integrated Services for Integrated Goals
Our superior service begins with developing an intimate understanding of each client’s business model, immediate needs, and long-term objectives. We understand that every business decision our clients make derives from the complex interplay of many factors — including company culture and risk appetite, government regulations and court decisions, and long-range strategic planning and budget priorities. Because of that, we are committed to packaging our cost-effective and adaptable services according to comprehensive strategies integrated seamlessly with each client’s overall business goals, and shaped by an understanding and appreciation of the many factors that decide these goals.
Workforce Management Goals
- Regulate health care expenses
- Improve productivity and performance
- Reduce costs associated with absent or low-performing employees
- Create a culture that encourages employee health, safety, and wellness
- Lower the risk of employment litigation
- Mitigate direct and tangential exposure relating to legal claims
- Audit existing disability, leave, and health management programs
- Draft policies and guidelines to improve the processing and management of leave requests, accommodations, and employee benefits
- Ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations
- Train key personnel on best practices, program administration, and compliance obligations
- Provide legal advice for any issue, including workers’ compensation benefits, leave requests, accommodation, termination of employment, and employee-related cyber risks
- Defend any legal claim or challenge to an Integrated Disability & Workforce Management Program decision
Avoiding enforcement actions, investigations and regulatory procedures, and costly employee litigation requires an encyclopedic understanding and deft navigation of overlapping federal, state, and local laws, as well an employer’s own benefit programs. We accomplish this though a client-tailored, team-driven, cost-effective, and global approach. Our attorneys draft and analyze disability, leave, performance, and other employment policies, aiming to decrease costs and liabilities and increase administrative and operational efficiency while ensuring compliance with:
- American with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)
- Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
- Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
as well as state and local laws pertaining to:
- Workers’ compensation
- Paid family leave
- Parental leave
- Short- and long-term disability
- Medical marijuana
By integrating our services in these areas — guidance on compliance and government or regulatory investigations as well as counsel on employment and benefits policies — we are able to offer comprehensive, practical advice regarding employers’ legal obligations, and provide guidance and solutions on how best to incorporate and administer company-provided benefits, including health management, paid time-off, return to work, transitional duty, and disability programs.
Even the most comprehensive risk management efforts — through employee training, workplace safety measures, compliance checks, and cautious policy drafting — cannot guarantee protection from damaging, distracting, and expensive litigation. Employers with the most proactive and global approach to workforce management issues still may face one, some, or all of the following:
- Workers’ compensation or disability benefits claims before administrative agencies
- Employment discrimination, personal injury, or general liability lawsuits in state court
- Arbitration proceedings alleging violations of contracts or collective bargaining agreements
- Lawsuits in federal court alleging civil rights violations — including FMLA retaliation or interference, or a failure to reasonably accommodate a disability under the ADA
The claims often result in overlapping litigation, stemming from a single dispute or related disputes. Taking an isolated approach to these interconnected issues increases the time and money employers spend on litigation and prevents them from resolving disputes with minimal cost, delay, and business disruption.
Our experienced, trial-tested attorneys stand ready to defend to your interests in any type of employment-related litigation, and our Integrated Disability and Workforce Management Program ensures that we will do so with a single, coordinated approach designed to accomplish your goals in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. Doing so allows us to collaborate on the defense of multiple claims arising out of a common dispute, offering our clients a single partner to assist on all matters.
We’re proud of the value that our clients have found in our creative solutions, all shaped by our philosophy of client-first, collaborative, cost-effective service. A few examples of the benefits of our integrated, global approach include:
- Defending an employer in associated workers’ compensation and employment discrimination claims, using the claimant’s contradictory testimony in each proceeding to secure a dismissal of the discrimination claim, and a de minimis settlement of the Workers Compensation claim
- Defending an employer in associated workers compensation and personal injury claims, using the claimant’s testimony in the workers’ compensation claim to defeat the general liability claim for a back injury
- Defending an employer in associated workers compensation and personal injury claims, and negotiating a favorable settlement of the personal injury matter which we leveraged to virtually extinguish the value of the workers compensation claim without a lump sum payment
- Counseling an employer on how properly to discharge an underperforming employee who was out of work following a workers’ compensation claim, while complying with its state Workers’ Compensation Law, as well as applicable federal laws such as the ADA and FMLA
- Advising an employer of its obligations, and providing practical tips for accommodating a workers’ compensation claimant with additional medical restrictions arising out of a non-occupational injury
With a wealth of practical experience across a full spectrum of practice areas, the lawyers on the GS Integrated Disability and Workforce Management team are capable of handling any disability or workforce-related claim before the state and federal courts and administrative agencies throughout our geographic footprint, as well as those contested in arbitration proceedings and other dispute-resolution forums.