Family and Medical Leave Act

Major life events happen. Loved ones get sick, children are born, and people need to take time off work for surgeries, hospitalizations, and recovery from serious illnesses. When these things happen, it can put a real strain on a family’s finances. Worse yet, being unable to work for an extended period of time can put one’s job in jeopardy. Fortunately for many American workers, federal law protects them from losing their jobs if they must take time off work for family or medical reasons. This law is called the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

At Five Points Law Group, we help people who have lost their jobs or suffered other adverse employment actions as a result of taking federally protected leave. If you have been laid off or denied opportunities because you used FMLA leave, call us today.

When the Law Applies

For those who are covered by FMLA, the law protects your right to keep your job even if you need to take time off from work to deal with a qualifying life event.

If you need to take time off work to deal with a major life event, you may be entitled to protection under FMLA. Here are some of the types of life events that will usually qualify. Others may count as well, but you should discuss it with an attorney if you have questions.

Is My Employer Required to Let Me Take Time Off?

Maybe. Not all employers are covered by the law. In fact, the law generally applies to larger employers. This is because to qualify you must work at a location where your employer employs at least 50 workers within a 75-mile radius. This can narrow the list of potentially covered employers, but if you are not sure, you can often discuss this with an experienced local employment lawyer who has experience with a number of major employers in your area.  

Other Restrictions on Using FMLA

To qualify, you must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the past 12 months, and you must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months. There is no FMLA during your first year of employment.

What the Law Protects

Under FMLA, workers are entitled to up to 12 weeks of leave when they experience a qualifying life event. They must be offered group health coverage during that time. There is, however, a catch. It is unpaid leave, and your employer can require you to use all paid leave, sick time, personal time, vacation time, or other compensated time off before invoking unpaid FMLA leave.

Upon completing your leave, you must be allowed to return to work in substantially the same role as before. This does not mean your employer has to give you your same desk or same exact job title; however, they should not demote, terminate, or otherwise take punitive action that would reasonably be construed as adverse employment action, as a result of or in retaliation for using FMLA.

How a Lawyer can Help

If you have lost your job due to taking federally protected FMLA leave, or you have been denied leave and suffered a layoff, termination, demotion, reduction in pay, or any other adverse consequences, you may have a right to compensation. For a free consultation to discuss your rights, call Five Points Law Group today.

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