Family Medical Leave Act
The FMLA is a federal employment law that allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from their jobs annually in the following circumstances:
- For your own serious health condition;
- To care for your family members who have a serious health condition; and
- For the birth or care of a newborn or adopted child.
Unfortunately, not all employees are covered by the FMLA. To be eligible, you must have been employed by your employer for least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the year prior to the date of your leave. Next, your employer must have at least 50 employees either at the facility where you work, or a total of 50 employees located anywhere within a 75 mile radius of your workplace. The next requirement is that you must have a serious health condition to be eligible for FMLA leave.
How to take medical leave under the FMLA:
If you are eligible for FMLA leave, the first step in the process is, if possible, giving advance notice to your employer of your need for medical leave. Once you request leave, your employer can require you to submit medical or other documentation to support your need for leave. In certain cases, however, where you can’t give advance notice, such as a medical emergency, you don’t need to give notice in advance, but you must request leave as soon as possible after the emergency. Once you’re on leave, your employer can, in certain circumstances, request additional documentation from you. When you are ready to return from leave, your employer must restore you to your job at the same rate of pay and the same benefits.
How are you protected under the family medical leave act?
- Employers may not interfere with your right to take FMLA leave.
- The FMLA protects you against retaliation.
Unlike Title VII, the FMLA does not require you to file a charge with the EEOC before filing suit. If your employer violates the FMLA, you have two years to file an FMLA lawsuit, or three years if you can show your employer’s misconduct was willful.
What are the damages available under FMLA if you succeed in your lawsuit?
- Lost wages and compensation
- If you don’t have any lost wages, you’re still entitled to recover any other monetary losses you sustain due to the FMLA violation, up to an amount equal to 12 weeks of compensation;
- Liquidated damages in an amount equal to your actual losses
- Equitable relief, such as reinstatement to your job or a promotion
- Attorneys’ fees
Thrasher Worth attorneys have handled numerous claims under the FMLA including interference and retaliation claims alone and in conjunction with claims under the Americans with Disability Acts. If you believe you have a claim under the FMLA, Thrasher Worth has the experience to guide you through the process both during employment and in connection with a possible claim for interference and/or retaliation.
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