How To Tell If Your Employer Is Violating Your FMLA Rights – 10 Signs
The Family & Medical Leave Act was designed to give employees time off to care for their own personal needs or for the needs of their immediate family members. The Act gives about 12 weeks of unpaid leave to employees who qualify, coupled with job protection upon return. Unfortunately, employers often retaliate against employees who take leave under the FMLA—an act that is illegal under both federal and state law. This retaliation can come in the form of termination, harassment, and discrimination. This article will help you find the signs on how to tell if your employer is violating your FMLA rights.
(1) Your employer requires an “official” request for time off
Employees are often unaware that they do not need to say, “I need time off under FMLA,” or any other legal statement to get afforded time off under FMLA. Sometimes, the need for leave is unexpected, such is the case when a medical emergency occurs. As long as the employee gives some type of notice about the need for leave, FMLA kicks in.
(2) Your employer fails to notify you that you qualify for leave
Employees are given the right to know if they qualify for FMLA leave. Under the law, the employee must have worked for at least one year and 1,250 hours to qualify for leave. Your human resources representative must let you know if you have hit that threshold upon request.
(3) Your employer wants too much notice
If the need for leave is foreseeable, the law says that you must give your employer at least 30 days’ notice of your need to leave unless providing notice is impossible. In the case of an emergency, employers should give employees leeway and flexibility to give the required notice.
(4) Your employer outright denies your leave
If you qualify for FMLA leave, your employer must abide by the law. However, if you are preemptively denied leave that you are entitled to, your employer may be violating your FMLA rights. However, your employer may be allowed to ask you to schedule doctor’s visits around your job so to not disrupt the everyday operations of the business. Nonetheless, if you need a major procedure within a specific time period and you qualify for leave, your employer generally must honor the request for time off.
(5) Your employer postpones your leave
Your employer cannot request that you take time off for FMLA at a later date because he or she needs you at work. If you or a family member is facing a serious medical condition, you are entitled to take your leave right away if you need it.
(6) Your employer makes you work while on leave
If you are working while on leave, then you are not technically on leave—your employer should not call you and inundate you with work while you are taking care of yourself or your family. Generally, employees on leave should receive uninterrupted time off, but on occasion, your employer may ask you certain questions about work. For example, if your boss has a simple question about where you stored a certain file, that may not be a violation of the law.
(7) Your employer terminates your employment when you return from leave or while you are on leave
If you were terminated while you were on leave or immediately upon your return, this is a strong sign of wrongful termination. Under the FMLA, you are afforded job protection, and unless your employer has a legitimate reason for your termination, you may be entitled to damages.
(8) Your employer denies your benefits while you are on leave
Just like how your job is protected while you are on FMLA leave, your benefits are protected as well.
(9) Your employers demotes you upon returning from leave
Upon the employee’s return from leave, he or she must be reinstated to their former position or an equivalent position. Employer’s cannot delay this reinstatement either—the day the employee returns from leave, he or she must get their job back. The job you get upon return must be the same in pay, duties, and location, among other things.
(10) Your employer fails to give you more time off than needed under FMLA
Aside from taking leave under the FMLA, you are also protected from disability discrimination through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Employment & Housing Act (FEHA). Under FEHA & ADA, you are entitled to reasonable accommodations—it may be reasonable to get extra time off aside from your FMLA leave.
Get Help Now
If you think your employer has violated your FMLA, call an employment lawyer. Our attorneys offer free consultations with a no fee guarantee. Don’t be left guessing on how to tell if your employer is violating your FMLA rights.