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Discrimination & Harassment

Family Medical Leave

Federal law requires employers to provide unpaid leave under certain circumstances. Some states and local laws, including those in Minnesota, also provide employees with related and overlapping protections. The scope of these rights, such as which employers are covered, which employees qualify for leave, and how much protection they are provided, varies by where an employee works and resides. Contact our employment rights lawyers to evaluate whether you are entitled to these protections.

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Family Medical Leave Details

What employers are covered?

Under federal law, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) covers employees who work for an employer that has 50 or more employees within a certain geographic area.

What employees are eligible?

In order to be eligible for FMLA leave, you must have been an employee for at least one year and worked a minimum of 1,250 hours for the employer. Then, you might qualify for a protective leave of absence if you need to take time off to care for the serious medical needs of yourself or certain family members. Similarly, you might qualify for protected parental leave if you are pregnant, recently had a baby, adopted a baby, or had a foster child placed in your care.

How much protection is there?

Under the FMLA, eligible employees are entitled to receive up to 12 weeks of unpaid vacation per calendar year. In general, employers must avoid interfering with the exercise of your FMLA or comparable state or local rights. While on approved leave, your health, dental, and vision benefits must be maintained. Your employer may require you to use your paid sick or vacation time during leave. However, an employer is not allowed to retaliate against you for taking the leave. When you return, your employer must provide you with the same (or a similar) position to the one you held before you took leave.

Examples of Potential FMLA Violations

  • You request a qualified leave and your employer denies the request.
  • You return from a qualified leave and your employer refuses to give your job back.
  • You are harassed, demoted, or fired because you requested or took a qualified leave.
  • Your employer preemptively fires you or reduces your hours to prevent you from qualifying for a leave.
  • Your employer has a policy—official or unofficial—that employees are not supposed to take leave for any reason.

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