Were You Denied Family Medical Leave? A FMLA Attorney in Los Angeles Can Help You
As is the case in any state, California employers are required to comply with the federal and state laws which allow eligible employees to take unpaid leave in certain situations. While state and federal law mandates fairness in relation to medical leave, many employers unfairly treat individuals seeking to take advantage of these rights. If you believe you have been denied your rights as an employee, contact a family medical leave attorney in Los Angeles to begin the process of taking legal action.
What is Family Medical Leave?
Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), eligible employees are allowed to take unpaid leave (with the right to reinstatement) in certain situations. Additionally, the state of California has several laws that allow employees to take leave for family and health reasons. As an employee in California, it is important to understand if you are covered by one or more of these laws.
How Long Does Family Medical Leave Last?
Unfortunately, the unexpected happens to thousands of families everyday. You have the right to take care of family emergencies and other life contingencies that may arise without worrying about losing your job. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which is a federal law that was passed in 1993, allows employees to take time off of work without pay related to their family matters or their health.
If your emergency falls within either of these categories, you are entitled to 12 weeks of leave. If the emergency involves a relative who is a service member, you are allowed up to 26 weeks of leave without pay. Keep in mind that there are certain eligibility requirements. Learn more in-depth information about how long family medical leave lasts and eligibility.
What is FMLA?: Frequently Asked Questions
If you or a family member become ill, one of the biggest concerns that comes into play is not being able to work for an extended period of time. For many cases in the past, this would put many employees at risk for losing their job; however, thanks to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) this has protected many workers since it has been enacted. To give you more clarity, here are some frequently asked questions regarding FMLA. You can visit What is FMLA?: FAQs for in-depth answers to these questions.
- Am I eligible for FMLA?
- What situations are eligible for FMLA?
- Will I be paid while on FMLA leave?
- Can an employer refuse to grant by FMLA leave request?
- If I complain about an FMLA violation, can I be fired?
- Will I lose my job if I take FMLA leave?
What’s Considered a Serious Health Condition Under the FMLA?
The FMLA guarantees 12 weeks of leave to employees that have family members with the following conditions or are dealing with the following conditions themselves:
- Inpatient care
- Chronic serious health conditions
- Incapacity for more than three days with continuing treatment
- Care of family members with a serious health condition
- Transitions in and out of duty for those serving or with spouses serving in the military
The cold or flu are not considered chronic health conditions like asthma or diabetes. The FMLA only covers conditions that require periodic doctor visits for treatment. It must be at least two visits per year with your healthcare provider. Read on for more information regarding medical leave, including protected COVID-19 leave.
Federal FMLA Rights
Eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of leave in order to bond with a new child, deal with a serious health condition, or prepare for a family member’s military service. Additional leave is available for employees needing more time to care for a family member who was seriously injured while on military duty.
Who is Eligible For Family Medical Leave?
In California, employers with at least 50 employees must comply with the FMLA. Employees are eligible for protected leave if:
- They have worked for the company for one year or more
- They worked 1,250 hours or more in the previous year, and
- They work at a location with a minimum of 50 employees within a 75-mile radius
The FMLA’s Military Provisions For Employees
Military provisions were created to expand on previous FMLA coverage. There are two, newer types of coverage designed to support military families. The first allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected time off when a family member is deployed. The second is specifically for military caregivers; they can take up to 26 weeks of time off to care for a sick or injured service member. However, employees cannot take more time off. Time off is allotted regarding the event that has affected the servicemember. In a 12-month period, employees can take off 26 weeks to deal with whatever injury or illness is at hand. If they are an active service member an employee can take another 26 weeks off in a different 12-month period to deal with those same ailments. Read on for more information about FMLA’s military provisions.
California State Laws
In addition to the FMLA, California has a handful of medical leave laws of its own. These include the California Family Rights Act, which has laws regarding military family leave, pregnancy disability leave, domestic violence leave, and small necessities.
Suing Your Employer For Denying Medical Leave
Your employer can deny FMLA if the company has less than 50 employees, if you have been employed for less than a year or have worked less than the required hours in prior months. For companies that qualify, you are entitled to 12 weeks of job-protected leave. If your employer denies giving you time off, outside of the mandatory criteria, it is an FMLA violation. The most frequent issues clients face are:
- The employer refused to let their employee take time off to help a sick family member or to deal with their serious chronic illness themselves
- The employer fired or disciplined the employee for requesting medical leave
- The employer forced an employee to come back to work before their requested leave was through
- The employee returned from their time off to find they had been removed from their former position
More information regarding how to sue your employer for denying leave can be found, here.
Know Your Rights
If you are an employee in California, it is important to understand your rights as an individual. If you believe you have been improperly treated, contact an employment attorney in Los Angeles to learn more about your rights regarding family medical leave.
Mann & Elias
At Mann & Elias, we have more than 40 years of combined experience in employment law. We represent clients at every level of the state and federal court systems and practice in the counties of Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange, Ventura, San Diego, and San Bernardino. Contact us today for a free case review and initial consultation.