Family & Medical Leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a complex federal
law that provides employees with certain employment rights.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a complex federal law that provides employees with certain employment rights. Under the FMLA, an employee, for specific medical reasons, may take up to 12 weeks of leave without pay during a 12-month period. If you or a family member believe that your employer is violating your rights under the FMLA, our dedicated and experienced lawyers can help you protect your rights. Our attorneys have successfully represented clients whose employers have violated their rights to family and medical leave. If you think that you need assistance with an FMLA violation, we are here to provide a sympathetic ear and a clear-eyed, expert assessment of your claim, free and without any obligation to you.

Who Is Covered Under the Family and Medical Leave Act?

The FMLA is applicable to all private-sector employers with 50 or more employees who work 20 or more weeks within a calendar year. It also applies to every public agency, including local, state, and federal employers as well all schools and institutions of education.

Any employee who is employed by a covered employer is eligible to receive FMLA benefits. The employee must have worked for the covered employer for at least 12 months, worked in a location in the United States or a territory, and worked 1250 hours or more in the previous 12 month period.

What Right Do I Have Under the Family and Medical Leave Act?

The FMLA provides all eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of leave without pay so that they may deal with a serious medical condition. The illness or medical matter can be the employee’s, or it can be that of a family member. Recognized family members include the employee’s spouse, their children, and their parents. Every 12 months, the employee is entitled to another 12 weeks of leave as long as the employee and employer continue to meet all of the eligibility requirements.

Usually, employees are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of leave without pay for the following types of medical reasons:

  • Birth of a child or for the caring of a newborn child within the first year after birth
  • Adoption of a child or for the caring of a foster child within the first year of adoption or foster care placement
  • Any major health condition (that is defined by the Family and Medical Leave Act regulations) that the employee or a family member is experiencing
  • An emergency of a covered member of the military who is on active duty

There are specific requirements that pertain to a family member’s service in the military. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, military caregivers can take up to 26 weeks of leave without pay during any 12 months.

All leave through the FMLA is unpaid leave. An employee can use their accrued paid leave, though. The employee is also allowed to keep their group health coverage while they are off from work on family and medical leave.

While the employee is on leave under FMLA, their employer must keep their job for them. When the employee returns to their job, the employer must give them the same or similar position.

Please note that the US Department of Labor is considering changing and updating the FMLA regulations. Changes could go into effect in late 2021.

What Is Medical Certification and Advance Notice?

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, an employer can request that the employee provide medical certification and advance notice for the leave that they wish to take. If the employee does not provide this necessary information, the employer can deny the leave request. Generally, the employee must provide up to 30 days of advanced notice when requesting leave. However, if the need for the leave is emergent or unpredictable, the employee must provide notice as soon as possible. Sufficient information must also be given to the employer so that they may determine that the request to use FMLA is reasonable.

The employer can also request that medical certification paperwork for any serious medical conditions be included with family and medical leave requests. An employer can even request that an employee submits to a second or third opinion from a medical professional. The employer must fully cover the cost of all additional medical opinions. Additionally, the employer may require an employee to provide medical documentation certifying that the employee can return to work and resume all of their normal work duties.

What Are Considered Violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act?

A violation of the FMLA occurs when an employer denies an employee any of the rights that are granted to them under the Act. There are several types of employer actions that may violate the FMLA.

A common violation under the FMLA is an employer’s refusal to approve leave for a covered reason. Additionally, any retaliation, discrimination, or harassment of an employee for taking covered leave is considered a violation of the FMLA. Employers also violate the Act when putting the returning employee in a lesser position or requiring additional work than was assigned before the leave was taken. Some employers violate the FMLA by refusing to promote employees that have taken or are likely to take family and medical leave.

Why Should I Contact An Attorney to Help With My FMLA Matter?

If you believe that your rights to family and medical leave are being violated, contacting an experienced and knowledgeable attorney is often your best approach to obtaining a favorable resolution to the matter. At Bracken Lamberton, we will work for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Family and medical leave cases can be complicated, and having an expert FMLA attorney by your side will ensure that your employer does not violate any of your rights.

We invite you to contact us for a complimentary case review. We will listen carefully to your experiences and assist you with deciding how to move forward and obtain the leave you have a right to use without being harassed or retaliated against by your employer.

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