The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a crucial piece of federal legislation protecting employees who require leave for specified family and medical reasons. It safeguards eligible employees by granting them up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave annually. Moreover, it mandates continuation of group health insurance benefits during this leave period. Its primary intent is to empower employees, enabling them to balance their professional obligations and family or medical needs by providing the right to take necessary unpaid leave in specific circumstances. Unfortunately, some employers violate this important right, often leaving employees in distressing situations.
Recognizing FMLA Violations
Recognizing FMLA violations is the first step toward seeking justice. Common violations include:
- Denial of Leave/Interference: If you're eligible for FMLA leave and your employer denies your request and refuses to authorize leave. Employers cannot interfere with, restrain, or deny an employee’s exercise of rights provided under the FMLA, and cannot discourage employees from taking protected leave.
- Retaliation/Discrimination for Exercising Leave Rights: Employers cannot retaliate against employees for exercising their FMLA rights. There could be an FMLA violation if you've been subjected to an “adverse employment action,” such as demotion, discipline, or termination, shortly after taking FMLA leave or using an employee’s FMLA leave as a negative factor in employment actions.
- Retaliation/Discrimination for Opposing Unlawful Practices: An employer cannot discriminate against employees for opposing or complaining about any unlawful practice under the FMLA.
- Failure to Restore Position: Upon return from FMLA leave, employees should be restored to their same job or an equivalent position with equivalent pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment.
Seeking Legal Redress
If you believe your FMLA rights have been violated, seeking legal redress is crucial. Here's how:
- Document the Violation: Keep a detailed record of the violation, including dates, times, conversations, and actions taken by your employer.
- Report to HR: Report the violation to your human resources department. They may be able to resolve the issue internally.
- Seek Legal Counsel: Consult with an employment law attorney if your employer fails to address your concerns or if retaliation occurs.
Let Us Be Your Voice in Your Pursuit of Justice
At Nichols Kaster PLLP, we deeply understand FMLA and other employment laws. We are committed to representing employees who have suffered rights violations at the hands of their employers. Our goal is to help you understand your rights and advocate for you if those rights have been violated.
If you suspect you've been a victim of an FMLA violation, you don't have to face it alone. Nichols Kaster PLLP can provide the legal support you need to navigate this challenging situation. Our experienced attorneys will meticulously review your case, guide you through the legal process, and passionately fight for your rights.
Contact Nichols Kaster PLLP today if your employer has violated your FMLA rights. Let us put our expertise, experience, and commitment to justice to work for you.