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Can I Take FMLA Leave for Reasons Related to Domestic Violence

Sometimes an employee faces a family emergency or medical crisis that requires the employee to take more than a day or two off of work. Prior to the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, an employee risked losing his or her job by asking for an extended leave.  Fortunately, the FMLA has removed that risk for many workers facing the need to take time off of work. If you are the victim of domestic violence, however, you may wonder “ Can I take FMLA leave for reasons related to domestic violence? ” The good news is that you may indeed qualify for FMLA leave if you are the victim of domestic violence and your injuries require you to take time off work.

Sadly, the issue of domestic violence remains a problem in the United States. Although the days of sweeping domestic violence under the rug are long gone, we have yet to eradicate domestic violence in America. Victims of domestic violence often suffer both physical injuries and psychological harm at the hands of their abusers. If the injuries are severe enough the victim may need time off from work to heal. If the employer is a covered employer and the employee meets all other eligibility criteria it is possible to use FMLA leave for reasons related to domestic violence.

Though the rules relating to a covered employer are complex, most employers with 50 or more employees are covered by the FMLA. For a worker to be eligible to use FMLA, all of the following must be true:

  • The employee must have been employed by the employer for at least 12 months
  • The employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours for the employer during the previous 12 months.
  • The employee must work at a worksite where there are at least 75 employees within a 75 mile radius.

Eligible employees may then be entitled to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave for any of the following reasons:

  • The birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
  • The placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
  • To care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
  • A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
  • Any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty.”

As a victim of domestic violence you could potentially qualify if your injuries constitute a “serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job.” Not only could actual physical injuries qualify, but a worker could also be facing post-traumatic stress disorder or other psychological trauma that amounts to a qualifying medical condition.

If you have additional questions or concerns about FMLA leave or employment law in general, contact the experienced Florida employment law attorneys at Celler Legal, P.A. by calling 954-716-8601 to schedule your appointment.