The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is an important form of workplace protection. Even the most dedicated and responsible employees could find themselves dealing with unexpected medical issues or tragedies in their families that require a leave of absence from work.
The FMLA allows workers to take time away from their job beyond what they can cover with their paid time off workplace benefits. Despite both federal and New York laws extending leave rights to workers, businesses can still violate those rights when a worker needs unpaid leave.
What are two of the most common ways that companies violate a worker’s rights under the FMLA?
They ignore or will not approve an FMLA leave request
Whether you need to take two weeks off of work to recover from a surgery or take six weeks off to support a family member going through intensive medical care, you should be able to take that leave when necessary.
Provided that you have worked at the company for long enough and that there are enough employees for the business to be subject to leave laws, you should be able to take time off without your employer trying to prevent you from asserting that right. If management or human resources keeps losing your paperwork, ignoring your emails or rejecting your appropriate request for leave, they may have violated your rights under the FMLA.
They retaliate against workers who ask for time off
An employer could approve a worker’s leave request but then punish them for asserting their rights. Such behavior is retaliation and is technically illegal.
An employee may find that they never get good shifts anymore when they come back from leave. Some companies will demote workers or transfer them to a different department, using their leave of absence as an excuse. Others will find a reason to terminate the worker shortly after they return from their leave while trying to pretend that the termination isn’t retaliation for the unpaid absence from work.
Workers facing challenges getting their leaves approved or dealing with a hostile employee may need to take legal action. Learning more about the FMLA can help those dealing with a company that doesn’t want to follow the law.