California employees have the right to take protected leave under both state and federal laws. These laws also prevent retaliation or discrimination against employees who avail themselves of their legal rights. It is important to understand your legal rights and defend your right to take a leave of absence from your job without being discriminated against. This not only prevents discrimination in your workplace, but it also deters other employers from trying to ignore their employees’ legal rights. Contact our Bay Area FMLA discrimination lawyers.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows an eligible employee to take up to twelve weeks of leave in a twelve-month period without losing his or her job. In order to be eligible, an employee must have twelve months and 1250 hours of service with an employer who employs 50 employees within a 75-mile radius of the employee’s work location. The employee must also document that the leave is for an eligible reason. Eligible reasons include serious medical conditions of the employee or providing care for a spouse, a parent, or a child with a serious health condition. A serious health condition requires proof of one of the following:
FMLA can also be taken after the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of the employee’s child.
If you have documented your eligibility and taken protected FMLA leave, you have the right to return to your previous job or an equivalent position. It is important to understand that you do not have to be reinstated to your exact former position. But if your position is changed, it must be substantially similar in the essential terms of your employment. This includes pay, hours, overtime eligibility, shifts, employment benefits, and other key terms. If these terms are commensurate with your former job, your right to return to an equivalent position has been violated.
Employers are also prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against employees who take protected FMLA leave. Some employers try to get around FMLA by adjusting the employee’s hours, discouraging the employee from taking FMLA, or using FMLA leave as a reason for negative performance reviews or opportunities for advancement. Any type of retaliation based on FMLA leave is prohibited by federal law.
It is important to consult with an FMLA discrimination lawyer as soon as you become aware of any adverse actions your employer has taken based upon your FMLA request. The sooner you have an attorney on your side, the better protected your employment rights will be. It is also important to understand that an employer who violated your FMLA rights is not on your side. Employers might encourage you to report discrimination to human resources or upper management. But if the employer has already violated your legal rights, you need your own attorney to fight for your employment rights.
The experienced Bay Area FMLA discrimination lawyers at Minnis & Smallets know how to protect employees’ rights to take leave. If you believe you have been discriminated against for taking protected family leave, you need legal advice right away. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.