Whether you are unwell or someone in your family needs health care, you may be wondering if you can utilize the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). So long as you work for a company that has 50 or more employees or if you are employed by a public agency, elementary, or secondary school, you are likely eligible for the Family and Medical Leave Act.
But what happens when your employer does not comply or you are wrongfully terminated for utilizing FMLA? Brown Kwon & Lam knows how difficult health emergencies can be. That’s why we fight for your New York employment rights.
Family and Medical Leave Act Violations: What can I use FMLA for?
There are many nuances in employment law that make navigating the system difficult. Sometimes, your rights may have been violated and you don’t even realize it.
That’s why it’s important to know what you can use the Family and Medical Leave Act for, and for how long.
If you are FMLA eligible, you can take up to 12 weeks of leave in any 12-month period for a variety of reasons including:
- A serious health condition: This includes yourself, a spouse, a child, or a parent. Serious health conditions may be defined as those that require a stay in the hospital or any medical treatment facility; conditions that incapacitate you or a family member for more than three consecutive days and require ongoing treatment; chronic conditions that leave you or a family member incapacitated that require treatment at least twice a year; or pregnancy.
- Military leave: If your loved one is in the military, certain leave entitlements are permitted. If you are treating an injured or sick service member, you may be permitted to take up to 26 weeks of FMLA leave.
- Birth of a child: You may be permitted to take FMLA leave for the birth of a child to bond with a newborn. In addition, if you are about to adopt or foster, you may be permitted time to bond with the new addition to your family. Men and women have the same right to take FMLA leave to bond with their child but it must be taken within one year of the child’s birth.
What do I have to tell my employer about my FMLA leave?
Obviously, you cannot leave your job without notifying your employer. Under the FMLA, you must provide appropriate notice to your employer prior to taking leave.
This is often 30 days advance notice if possible. However, if an emergency arises, you need to let the employer know as soon as possible. This includes following company policy for calling off, as well as providing enough information about the incident to ensure that it is covered under FMLA.
From there, your leave will be approved for FMLA leave, and if you know that you will need additional time off for medical treatments, therapies, etc., you must mention that in your request, otherwise, your employer may not cover it under FMLA.
Though you do not have to tell your employer your exact diagnosis, or that of a family member, you do need to give enough information that can indicate coverage under FMLA.
Once your employer has approved your FMLA leave, you will be provided with information only about your eligibility, rights, responsibilities, and terms of employment upon return. You will also be notified of the following:
- If you need to provide medical certification from a health care provider.
- Your right to use paid leave/if your employer will require you to use your paid leave.
- Your right to maintain your health benefits and what your payments will be.
- Your right to return to your job at the end of your FMLA leave.
Do I have an FMLA Claim Against My Employer?
If you work for an employer that falls under FMLA qualifying conditions, yet you have been denied leave, you may wonder if you have a claim against your employer.
Signs that your employer has violated your rights under FMLA include:
- 1. Your employer does not recognize your request, even though it is obviously an FMLA request.
- 2. Your employer requests an exorbitant amount of time notice to use FMLA–even though the law only requires 30 days for foreseeable needs.
- 3. Your employer denies your leave because “now isn’t the best time”.
- 4. Your employer wants you to work from home while on leave.
- 5. You have faced retaliation after taking FMLA leave.
If any of these situations sound familiar to you, you may have an FMLA violation claim against your employer.
How to file FMLA Violations
If your employer does not comply with federal FMLA rights, you are entitled to file an FMLA violation with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD).
To file a complaint, you will need to provide:
- Your name
- Phone number
- Name of your employer
- Phone number of employer
- Owner or manager’s name
- Circumstances of FMLA request and the employer’s response to the request
Remember, your employer cannot interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of FMLA rights, or retaliate against you for filing a complaint and cooperating with the Wage and Hour Division, or bringing a private action to the court.
But if your employer does, know that Brown Kwon & Lam can help.
Family and Medical Leave Act Violations: Brown Kwon & Lam
When medical events happen, you need to know that your rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act are protected. But when your employer denies your rights or terminates you for using FMLA, you need a legal team to stand by your side. You need Brown Kwon & Lam. Contact our New York employee rights firm today.