At the offices of Kelly & Bramwell, one of our most commonly requested practice areas is in the realm of labor and employment law. Employees have rights when working for any kind of company, but unfortunately, there are a number of situations where employers violate these rights – and in some cases, you as an employee could be due compensation for this.
There are several areas we can help with here, but a big buzz term you’ll hear across several areas is discrimination. All forms of discrimination from employers are prohibited when it comes to everything from hiring decisions to pay, and this includes forms of discrimination you may not have thought of under this umbrella. One area here is the Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows for leave in the cases of certain family and medical reasons. If an employer has denied you these rights, whether due to discrimination or any other cause, you could have a case against them. Let’s go over some basics here.
FMLA is in place to allow employees who are covered under certain protections to take time off work – but only for very specific reasons. This leave is not paid, but is rather meant to protect an employee’s job and health coverage while they attend to important family or medical needs. It’s important to note that FMLA doesn’t guarantee you your exact job when you return; rather, it guarantees you a job that’s of “equivalent responsibilities and pay.”
To qualify for FMLA, you must have worked for an FMLA-covered employer for at least one year. You also must have worked at least 1,250 hours in the year prior to your leave. In addition, employers cannot be FMLA-covered unless there are at least 50 employees within 75 miles of the location in question. Here are some examples of employees covered by FMLA:
There are three broad scenarios where an employee can take 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a one-year period:
In addition, there are situations where you might be able to take a 26-week leave during a yearlong period – this is for cases when you’re providing “care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness, when the employee is the spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin of the servicemember.”
Regardless of which program you’re using, you must go through normal employer methods to request this leave. We also recommend speaking to your HR representative in advance to ensure everything is kosher. If you’re taking leave for a medical reason, you will be required to provide proof of this.
If you think you might have a claim against your employer based on an FMLA violation, it’s vital to speak to one of our attorneys first. A denied claim can put your entire career at risk, but at the same time, you should never be put in a situation where you have to choose between you or your family’s well being and your job. Contact our professionals to see if your claim has a good chance of succeeding, and how we’d recommend moving forward.
To learn more about this, or for information on family law, divorce law, personal injury or any of our other attorney services, contact the offices of Kelly & Bramwell today.