The law allows employees to take time off when they experience individual or family medical situations. However, companies do not always respect these legal rights, placing their workers in a situation where they are trapped between their family and their job. The employer cannot interfere with a worker’s Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) rights. If they do, they can be legally liable.
FMLA protections apply to the following employers:
The law allows workers to take up to 12 weeks of leave for things such as caring for a baby after birth, caring for a family member with a serious health condition, or dealing with the employee’s own serious health condition.
When this happens, the employer must allow the employee to return to either the same position or one with the same salary, benefits, and employment terms as their original job. Anything less could be considered discrimination and could result in government enforcement action or a discrimination lawsuit.
The reality is that many employees still find it difficult to exercise their FMLA rights. If the company allows them their leave, they find out that their rights are violated when they try to return to work. They could be in a position where they are being pressured not to take the time that they are legally entitled to use.
According to the law, employers cannot:
Employees whose rights are violated have two options for legal relief. First, they could file a complaint with the federal government. The Department of Labor has a Wage and Hour Division that investigates these complaints. If they find that a violation of the law occurred, they could take enforcement action against the employer.
Second, an employee could file a private lawsuit in court on the grounds that they were discriminated against by their employer. Workers could receive the following damages in an FMLA lawsuit:
Any FMLA claim would need an experienced attorney who knows how to fight for workers’ legal rights. Companies often work very hard to defeat FMLA lawsuits, and they will bring everything that they have to the lawsuit to save themselves money and protect their own reputation. Employees should consult with an FMLA attorney at the first possible time when they think that their rights are being violated. Sometimes, an attorney could keep the situation from getting worse.
Workers who have experienced interference or retaliation when trying to exercise their FMLA rights should contact the lawyers at Minnis & Smallets. We can help when an employer abuses their power and violates their employees’ legal rights.