When an individual or their family suffers a medical emergency, federal law protects a qualifying employee’s right to take a leave of absence through the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
The FMLA is a federal law that requires most employers to provide unpaid leave when an individual provides sufficient notice of a qualifying medical event. However, some employers either unknowingly or knowingly violate the law—forcing workers to choose between their families, health, and careers.
The complicated process of investigating and gathering evidence for an FMLA protection claim may feel overwhelming for most individuals. If you suffer from FMLA violations and seek to pursue legal action, contact Hollis Law Firm for an experienced FMLA protection lawyer.
Who Does the FMLA Protect?
For an employee to be eligible for FMLA leave, they must be employed with their workplace for at least 12 months (not necessarily all in a row) and work at least 1250 hours within the 12 months before their leave. The employee’s workplace must also have at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius to be eligible for FMLA leave.
Some examples of qualifying reasons to take FMLA leave include:
- Employee has a serious health condition that makes them unable to work
- Employee needs to care for a spouse, child or parent who has a serious health condition
- Birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child
- Qualifying exigency arising from the military foreign deployment of the employee’s spouse, child, or parent
- Employee needs to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness, where the employee is the spouse, child, parent, or next of kin of the servicemember
If you are unsure whether you qualify under the FMLA, speak with your lawyer, and they will communicate your eligibility and options regarding your leave of absence. They will also direct you to any issues or problems an employer may pose.
How Can Your Employer Violate the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
While some employers are simply unfamiliar with the FMLA, others purposefully choose to neglect their duty and restrict an employee’s request for unpaid leave. The following are a few examples of employer violations that may cause legal consequences:
Certification and Notice Issues
Under the FMLA, an employer must provide a series of notices to employees about their FMLA rights. An employer may ask for documentation, or a medical certification, stating the type of leave the employee requires, as well as an employee’s notice of their need for FMLA. Some violations of these requests include:
- Failing to recognize and receive an employee’s notice
- Failing to inform employees of their FMLA rights
- Requiring too much notice of employee leave
Employees must provide enough notice and information to their employers so they know the reason and date that the leave of absence is needed. If the employee knows of the need for leave in advance, they must give at least 30 days advance notice; otherwise, the employee must notify the employer as soon as possible. Sufficient notice and documentation will trigger an employer’s obligations without the employee invoking FMLA by name.
Leave Management Issues
For most conditions of employment, employees are entitled to 12 weeks of leave. However, individuals who need time to care for family members or individuals with severe service-related disabilities and illnesses may be entitled to 26 weeks of leave in a 12-month period.
Employers still need to provide the basic requirements for their employees on leave, which includes their health insurance and their job. If an employer does not continue to provide those and acts under the following, they can suffer serious consequences:
- Stops providing health insurance
- Pressuring and hounding employees on leave
- Firing or disciplining employees for taking leave
Most employers wouldn’t outwardly punish employees for using FMLA because of the severe punishments they may face. However, some employers will use subtler forms of discipline and punishment such as giving a poor performance review, counting time off against the employees, and other passive punishments. When an employer causes you and your career to suffer simply by requesting FMLA leave, contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
When an employee returns from FMLA leave, employers must provide their previous positions prior to when they started their leave of absence. Many mistakes occur in this area and cause employees to suffer significant career problems. The following are ways an employer can violate under this area:
- Misclassification as a key employee
- Failing to reinstate previous benefits
- Postponing employees reinstatement
- Reinstating the employee in a lesser position
The above actions are passive ways of restricting an employee’s right to request a leave of absence. Some employers will try and find ways around the FMLA protection act, but with the help of a professional lawyer, you’ll have a legal representative by your side every step of the way.
Contact a Kansas City FMLA Protection Lawyer at Hollis Law Firm
When an employer chooses to punish you for seeking FMLA leave, you have the right to hold them accountable for their violation of the federal law. When you work with a professional Hollis Law Firm lawyer, you’ll have trustworthy and dependable legal representation. Our FMLA protection lawyer can offer legal advice on your best options and how we can help you receive the best possible outcome for your claim. If you are experiencing issues concerning your employee rights, learn more about how we can help you by calling (800) 701-3672 or filling out our contact form today.