If you need to take time away from your job to have a child or care for yourself or a loved one with a medical condition, you likely want to do so with an understanding of what protections you have in place. Will you have a job when you return? How much time will you be allowed to take? Will you be paid during this time?
These questions are addressed in the Family and Medical Leave Act, which is a federal law that guarantees certain protections for certain workers. In an effort to help readers understand what the FMLA protects, we will look at some common examples of how employers violate the FMLA.
Let's imagine you are going to have a baby in six months. You plan to use four weeks of FMLA to bond with your new child. You tell your boss about your plans.
If he or she tries to talk you out of taking this leave or leads you to believe that you aren't entitled to any time off, this should raise some red flags because it could be a violation. Employers are required to allow eligible employees to take leave without interference.
If your boss says that you can take your leave but you could lose your job if you are gone for too long, this too could be a violation. The FMLA dictates that your job will be protected as long as your leave is within the limits of the law. Similarly, if you get fired for taking leave, you may have grounds to file a wrongful termination lawsuit.
If your employer denies you a promotion, relocates you without your consent or otherwise treats you unfairly after you have taken leave, there may be elements of discrimination to examine. Under the FMLA, employers are prohibited from using an employee's decision to take leave against that person in regard to employment decisions.
We hope that no one's rights are violated when it comes to protected leave, but it can and does happen, unfortunately. Knowing what protections exist can therefore be crucial. Any questions you have regarding your rights under the FMLA can be answered by discussing your legal options with your attorney.