There may be times where your health or a loved one’s can require you to miss a significant amount of time from work. Or, maybe you’ve had a happier occasion and welcomed a new child into your family. When you need to take time away from work to care for yourself or a loved one, you might be worried about how you’ll be able to keep your job. Fortunately, many employees can utilize FMLA time during situations like this. If something comes up and you need to take a leave of absence from your job, you might assume you’ll get the time you’re entitled to. However, your employer may not respect the rights you’re entitled to under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Who is Eligible to Receive FMLA?
While it can be extremely helpful for the employees who need it, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 does not apply to all employees. Before you can know if your employer committed a violation, you need to ensure that you’re eligible to use it. Employers who are required to give FMLA must have 50 or more employees if they’re in the private sector. Employers in the public sector, as well as private and public elementary and secondary schools, must offer FMLA regardless of how many employees they have.
It’s also important to note that not all employees with employers who offer FMLA are eligible to use it. Employees must have worked for the employer for at least one year and completed a minimum of 1,250 hours during the previous 12 months.
Common FMLA Violations
If you’re an employee eligible for FMLA, there are a few ways your employer can violate your rights. Here are a few examples of FMLA violations.
Employer Requested Too Much Notice
Of course, employees are required to request FMLA before taking a leave of absence. Ideally, an employee would request time off 30 days in advance. However, you can’t always predict that something will happen that requires you to use FMLA, so an employee can still be given time off when this timeframe isn’t workable.
In some workplaces, an employer may require more notice than the 30 days the law requires. In addition to requiring an unnecessary amount of notice, an employer may also deny time off on short notice for emergencies. Denying FMLA in emergency situations and requiring more time than the law does can both be classified as violations.
Denying or Delaying a Valid FMLA Request
The Famiy and Medical Leave Act can only be used in certain situations, so an employee can have their request denied if they don’t meet the criteria. However, there can be times when an employee has a valid request that qualifies for leave and their request is denied. Employers need to be aware of what makes an employee eligible to take FMLA leave, it isn’t up to them alone to decide what does and does not qualify.
Some employers may request that an employee delay their request to give them more notice of their leave. If it’s possible for an employee’s leave to be delayed, this is allowed, but an employer cannot delay a request in an emergency. If your situation meets the criteria for FMLA and your employer denied or delayed your request, this may be a violation.
You Were Discriminated Against for Using FMLA
The benefit of FMLA is that you can take an extended period of time off from your job and still have the same employment conditions when you return. Unfortunately, this is not how it works for every employee. An employee may return to work after their leave to find themselves facing discrimination. Employees may be harassed and disciplined for taking leave, demoted to a lower level when they return, or terminated for using FMLA. Discriminating against employees for using FMLA is prohibited and a violation of an employee’s rights.
See How an Employee Rights Lawyer Can Help
If you’re eligible for FMLA and your situation qualifies you to take a leave of absence from your job, you shouldn’t have to worry about issues from your employer. You have rights as an employee that your employer cannot violate, and when they do, you may need to get legal help. At Brown Kwon & Lam, we recognize your employee rights and understand the importance of taking FMLA without fearing repercussions.
If your employer has violated your FMLA rights, contact us today to how our employee rights lawyers can help.