Why You Should Consult Our FMLA Lawyer, Serving Georgia and Florida
Falling prey to illness or caring for a loved one in need is hard enough without worrying about having a job when it’s over. The United States passed the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 to help alleviate that worry. Sometimes, employers unwittingly violate the act in their treatment of employees who take an extended leave of absence. The FMLA guarantees that employees who meet the qualifications can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per 12 month period to deal with family or medical issues.
FMLA covers the time taken to deal with personal illness or care for an immediate family member. It also covers any unpaid leave a mother takes because of difficulties occurring before, during, or after childbirth. A father is also eligible for FMLA protections if he helps care for the mother or infant during this time. It can also cover Covid-19 illnesses as well.
If your employer has tried to make you use paid leave before allowing you to use FMLA, or has fired or retaliated against you for taking the leave to which you are entitled, you need a lawyer right now. Employers are not allowed to penalize employees for taking FMLA leave due to sickness or injury occurring to themselves or anyone in their immediate family. After taking that leave, you must be allowed to return to your old position without losing any part of your salary or benefits. If your old job is no longer available, they must offer you a position that is fully equivalent to your old one.
We Pursue Action Against Employers Who Violate Your FMLA Rights
If your employer has punished you in any way for exercising your rights under FMLA, we can assist you in getting justice. You may be eligible for damages, in addition to having your position reinstated. Damages can include amounts to replace lost salary and restitution for emotional distress, loss of benefits, losing insurance coverage, and other harm resulting from the employer’s actions. We may even be able to make the employer pay your attorney’s fees and costs.
Call on a FMLA Lawyer in Florida and Georgia
If you believe that your employer has taken unlawful action against you for using your FMLA rights, call the experienced lawyers at The Leach Firm, PA. We can help you recoup damages and take legal action designed to force your employer to make things right. Don’t try to handle this alone. Talk to an experienced FMLA attorney today by contacting us at (844) 722-7567 for a free case evaluation.
What does the Family and Medical Leave Act provide?
The FMLA or Family and Medical Leave Act allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in certain covered situations. During the time an employee is on FMLA leave, the employer must maintain their health insurance just as if they were working. When an employee returns from FMLA leave, the law requires the employer to put the employee back in the same job or an equivalent position. Employees with a family member on active military service may be eligible for additional leave.
What types of employers and businesses does the FMLA apply to?
All public agencies, including schools and government employers at the federal, state, and local level must provide leave in accordance with FMLA rules. Private businesses must also comply with the FMLA rules if they employ at least 50 employees for at least 20 weeks per year.
Who can take FMLA leave?
Employees are eligible to take FMLA leave if they meet all of the following conditions:
- Their employer is covered by FMLA requirements
- They work at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees (either at the same site or within 75 miles)
- They have worked for that employer at least 12 months (not necessarily consecutively)
- They have worked at least 1,250 hours in the year before they plan to take leave
Is my employer required to pay me when I take FMLA leave?
The law requires only the provision of unpaid leave. However, when an employee uses paid vacation leave, sick leave, or family leave during the FMLA leave period, the employer would need to provide appropriate pay to cover the periods when those forms of paid leave are used. The FMLA allows employers to require that an employee use paid leave they have accrued before taking unpaid leave, and employees also have the choice to take any paid leave they have available during the FMLA period. When an employee uses paid leave for a reason covered by the FMLA, the employer must abide by the same rules regarding continued insurance coverage and a return to the same or equivalent job.
Does an employee have to take leave all at once or can it be taken periodically or as a reduction in the employee’s schedule?
An employee can take FMLA leave intermittently or by working a reduced schedule if this type of arrangement is medically necessary. Employees taking leave for planned medical treatment are supposed to schedule treatment in a way that does not excessively disrupt the employer’s operation.
If an employee wants to take intermittent leave to be with a newly born or adopted child or newly placed foster child, the employer must approve the intermittent schedule and protected leave can only continue for 12 months at the most. Leave is considered intermittent when it is taken in separate blocks of time based on the same cause.
When can an eligible employee use FMLA leave?
FMLA leave can be used when:
- The employee wants to bond with a newborn child
- The employee wants to bond with a newly-placed foster or adopted child
- The employee chooses to care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition (care for in-laws is not covered)
- The employee is unable to work due to their own serious health condition
- The employee has a spouse, parent, or child on active military duty and that has caused certain needs to arise
In addition, an employee can take up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a covered servicemember suffering from a serious injury or illness.
Am I required to prove that I have a serious health condition in order to take FMLA leave?
The law does not require you to prove the severity of a medical condition to take covered leave, but it does allow employers to require certification from a health care provider. If your employer does request that you provide proof of a serious health condition, they must give you 15 days to provide medical certification.
Can you be fired while on FMLA?
An employer cannot fire you because of the fact that you need to take leave. However, your status on FMLA leave does not provide complete protection from losing your job. Courts have held that employer can fire you for reasons such as:
- Job performance problems that predate leave
- Repeated tardiness and non-compliance with absence policies
- Failing to comply with a direct order from supervisors
- A decision to reduce the workforce that predated the employee’s leave
If you have had your job terminated while taking FMLA leave, it is a good idea to consult an attorney to determine whether you may be entitled to compensation for unlawful retaliation.