Under federal law, everyone working in California has access to state and federal-level protections. More well-known protections are offered under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), but they are far from the only rights afforded to employees. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows employees to take unpaid medical leave, while retaining job security, when unanticipated medical issues affect them or their loved ones. Understanding your rights as an American worker is important, as it can help you be better prepared to handle an emergency or unforeseen medical issue.
Unfortunately, not all employers are aware of or are willing to follow the law by meeting their obligations under the FMLA. They may fire or otherwise punish employees who take leave under the FMLA due to circumstances beyond their control. In these instances, speaking with an FMLA attorney should be one of your next actions. The Law Offices of Miguel S. Ramirez are experienced with FMLA issues and can help you should your employer penalize you for using your federally protected rights.
For eligible employees of covered employers, the FMLA provides for unpaid, job-protected leave for specific family and medical reasons. Their coverage for health insurance must also continue under the same conditions and terms as if they had not taken the leave. Qualifying employees can take 12 or 26 weeks of leave, depending on the circumstances.
Employees can take twelve work weeks of leave within a 12-month period for:
Employees are eligible for 26 weeks of leave within a 12-month period to:
Employers cannot deny an eligible employee leave under the FMLA or they can face penalties for violating the law. They can also face penalties if they punish the employee for taking the leave.
There are eligibility standards for both employers and employees under FMLA. If the following conditions are met, employees are eligible to take leave under FMLA without fear of penalty from their employer:
The employee is also required to give their employer notice before they go on leave. If you are aware of when you need to take leave, you should give your employer 30 days notice prior to your leave start date. However, an exception is granted in the event of an emergency. Your employer can ask why you are taking FMLA leave to ensure that it is protected by the law.
One of the major distinctions between the federal-level FMLA and the state-level California Family Rights Act (CFRA) is pregnancy disability leave. CFRA does not allow for leave prior to childbirth. FMLA, however, does permit employees who are disabled by their pregnancy, childbirth, or other related medical conditions to take up to four months of Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) if they meet the qualifications.
A: The intent of the law is to protect your job and allow you to return once your medical situation is over, so FMLA leave is generally unpaid. Employees may have the option to use paid leave, such as sick time or vacation, during their FMLA leave. Sick time can be used if the employee is taking the time to care for themselves, but not if they are caring for a loved one.
A: An employer cannot deny a request for FMLA leave unless the employee’s reason does not qualify under the FMLA or if they do not meet the eligibility requirements. Denying for any other reason is against the law, and the employer can be penalized. They can also be penalized if the employer allows the leave but punishes the employee in any way for taking the leave.
A: Eligible employees are protected against many types of negative actions on their employer’s part either during or following an FMLA request. Examples of conduct that an employer can be held liable for include:
A: You are not required to work with an attorney to file a claim if your employer violates your rights under the FMLA. However, an experienced employment attorney can examine your situation and determine if a violation did occur. They can help you navigate the complexities of ensuring that your employer is held liable for violating your rights to secure any compensation for which you are owed.
Even if your case appears to be straightforward, complications can arise that will require knowledgeable assistance to successfully resolve. The Law Offices of Miguel S. Ramirez can support you through the legal aspect as you navigate the FMLA violation, allowing you to focus on the reason for your FMLA leave. Contact our Culver City office for a consultation today.