Employers may violate your FMLA rights

Frank S. Clowney III

Many California residents work full-time jobs all year long, with a limited amount of paid time off for vacation and illness. However, this limited amount of time off may not be enough for employees who are unable to work due to certain life circumstances. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), eligible employees who work for covered employers may be entitled to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave per 12-month period for:

  • Serious and/or chronic health condition that prevents employee from working
  • Providing care to employee’s spouse, child, or parent with serious health condition
  • Birth and/or care of a newborn or child under the age of one
  • Adoption or fostering of a child
  • Qualifying exigency relating to military (e.g., covered spouse or child on covered active duty)

Employees are eligible for FMLA leave if they meet certain requirements. Generally, an eligible employee must have:

  • Worked for covered employer at location with at least 50 employees or 50 employees within 75-mile radius
  • Worked for covered employer for at least 12 months
  • Worked for at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months leading up to the leave

Common FMLA violations

Employers may deny requests for FMLA leave for multiple reasons, some of which are unlawful. An employer may legally deny FMLA leave if employee does not meet eligibility requirements or does not qualify for leave under the FMLA. However, if an employer violates your FMLA rights, you may be able to file a claim against them for damages. Common FMLA violations include:

  • Denying your legitimate request for leave.
  • Requiring an unreasonable amount of notice for leave.
  • Asking you to work while on leave.
  • Terminating your employment, reducing pay, or taking other adverse action against you for taking FMLA leave.

If you believe your FMLA rights have been violated, contacting an attorney specializing in employment law for employees may be beneficial. Your lawyer can review your case and advise you on what to do next.