An unemployment compensation hearing can be fraught with dangers for the unsuspecting or unprepared employer. Many employers disregard such proceedings as low risk because any benefits will be paid from the state’s unemployment insurance fund to which all employers must contribute. But the factual issues raised in unemployment compensation hearings closely relate to more significant sources of employer liability, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq., and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. The recent decision of the Kentucky Court of Appeals in Hicks v. Kentucky Unemployment Insurance Commission, — S.W.3d —, No. 2014-CA-001061-MR, 2015 WL 7351398 (Ky. App. Nov. 20, 2015), illustrates the potential intersection between those seemingly distinct areas of law and the need for a forward-looking strategy to avoid future claims.
Tarsis Hicks worked as an interpreter for Fairview Community Health Center (“Fairview”). She assisted Spanish-speaking patients in communicating with medical staff. During her employment, Hicks received a diagnosis of breast cancer. She then took leave from work under the FMLA to undergo chemotherapy treatments. After exhausting her twelve weeks of FMLA leave, Hicks requested that Fairview allow her to work from home by Continue reading