Los Angeles Family and Medical Leave Attorneys
Table of Contents
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and its state counterpart the California Family Rights Act give eligible employees the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave per year for health and family reasons. All employers subject to the FMLA/CFRA must grant the requested leave, and it is unlawful for employers to terminate or otherwise discriminate against employees for taking the leave.
While it has been over twenty years since these laws were enacted, many employers continue to violate FMLA/CFRA requirements and the protected leave rights of their employees. Our Los Angeles medical and family leave attorneys strongly believe that employees should be able to take time off to care for loved ones or because of their own medical needs without suffering retaliation, and provide skillful and effective representation to victims of unlawful conduct.
Eligibility for FMLA and CFRA Leave
The FMLA allows employees to take a total of 12 weeks off in a 12-month period for the following reasons:
- When an employee has a serious health condition
- To care for a spouse, child or parent who has a serious health condition
- The birth of a child
- Caring for a newly adopted or fostered child
Eligible employees are defined as employees who have been at the job for at least one year and have worked at least 1,250 hours. The FMLA applies to all private-sector employers with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius. While an employer can legally ask for medical certification when the leave is requested, the employer cannot request that you sign a medical release/waiver.
The main distinction between the FMLA and CFRA is that while the federal statute does not recognize registered domestic partners as spouses, the CFRA does. Additionally, California’s new Parental Leave Act expands the right to take parental leave to employees of businesses who have between 20 and 49 employees within a 75-mile radius.
Examples of FMLA/CFRA Violations
- Termination of the employee during the leave
- Termination of the employee after his or her return to work if the termination decision can be connected to taking of the leave
- Significant changes to the terms and conditions of employment after the employee’s return to work, such as a decrease in pay or reassignment to a less desirable location or department
- Denial or interference with the right to take FMLA or CFRA leave
- Termination after the employee complains that his or her FMLA/CFRA rights are being violated
Termination and Discrimination Upon Return to Work
While some employers fire the employee during his or her protected leave, other employers are more subtle and wait until after the employee returns to work before terminating him or her. Even in those circumstances, an employee may still prevail under the FMLA/CFRA if the termination decision can be tied to taking of the leave and it can be convincingly argued that any other reason offered by the employer for the decision (such as poor performance or restructuring) is pretextual, i.e. untrue.
Some other employers do not risk terminating the returning employee at all and instead find other ways to penalize him or her, such as a decrease in pay or reassignment to a less desirable location or department. Again, an employee may be able to prevail if these changes in the terms and conditions of employment can be connected to the FMLA/CFRA leave.
Contact Our Los Angeles FMLA/CFRA Lawyers Now
Our Los Angeles employment attorneys have extensive experience helping employees successfully bring claims for violation of the FMLA and/or CFRA. If you feel that you were terminated or discriminated against for exercising your right to family or medical leave, contact the Los Angeles FMLA attorneys at Broslavsky & Weinman, LLP to discuss your potential case. Call us (310) 575-2550 or email us using the form on this page for a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions for our Family And Medical Leave Lawyers
What is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that requires certain employers to provide employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain medical and family reasons, such as the birth or adoption of a child, caring for a seriously ill family member, or the employee’s own serious health condition.
Who is eligible for FMLA leave?
An employee is eligible for FMLA leave if they have worked for their employer for at least 12 months, and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months. The employee must also work for a covered employer, which includes most employers with 50 or more employees.
What medical reasons qualify for FMLA leave?
Medical reasons that qualify for FMLA leave include the employee’s own serious health condition that makes them unable to perform their job, and the need to care for a family member with a serious health condition.
What family reasons qualify for FMLA leave?
Family reasons that qualify for FMLA leave include the birth or adoption of a child, and the need to care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition.
Is FMLA leave paid or unpaid?
FMLA leave is typically unpaid, but employees may be able to use paid leave, such as vacation or sick time, during their FMLA leave.
Do I need to provide my employer with medical certification of my or my family member’s health condition?
Yes, an employee may be required to provide their employer with medical certification of their or their family member’s health condition in order to take FMLA to leave.
Can my employer deny my request for FMLA leave?
An employer may deny an employee’s request for FMLA leave if the employee does not meet the eligibility requirements, or if the reason for the leave does not qualify under the FMLA.
What happens to my job when I take FMLA to leave?
Under the FMLA, an employer must provide an eligible employee with the same or equivalent job upon their return from FMLA leave.
What happens to my benefits when I take FMLA to leave?
Under the FMLA, an employer must maintain an employee’s benefits during their FMLA leave.
Can I be fired for taking FMLA to leave?
No, an employee cannot be fired for taking FMLA leave. The FMLA provides job protection for eligible employees who take FMLA leave.
What should I do if I believe my employer has violated my rights under the FMLA?
An employee who believes their rights under the FMLA have been violated should contact an experienced Los Angeles family and medical leave attorney.
What are the benefits of working with a Los Angeles family and medical leave attorney?
A Los Angeles family and medical leave attorney can help ensure that an employee’s rights under the FMLA are protected, and can provide assistance in the event of a violation. An attorney can also provide guidance on navigating the complexities of the FMLA and can help an employee obtain the leave and job protection to which they are entitled.