As an employee in the United States you are protected by a number of important state and federal laws. Some of these laws prohibit unwanted conduct in the workplace, such as the various anti-discrimination laws.
Others provide you with certain benefits and set standards for the workplace. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, is one such law.
The FMLA allows eligible employees who work for a covered employer to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, but job protected, leave for certain family or medical reasons.
If you have run into a problem trying to exercise your rights under the FMLA you may be wondering “What can I do if I am mistreated for taking FMLA leave or denied FMLA leave?”
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First, it is important to understand that the FMLA is a federal law. It is not an optional benefit that an employer can offer you, such as medical insurance or paid time off for vacations. If your employer is covered by the FMLA, you qualify to take leave under the FMLA, and your follow the procedures for requesting leave, your employer is required to honor that request for leave.
Although the FMLA is a complex law, some requirements that generally apply for eligibility for leave under the FMLA include:
- Your employer must have more than 50 employees to be covered by the FMLA
- You must have been employed by the employer for at least 12 months
- You must have worked at least 1250 hours during the preceding 12 months
- Your employer must have at least 50 employees within a 75 mile radius of where you work.
- Your reason for taking leave must be a covered reason
You must give your employer at least 30 days notice of your leave when possible
If you qualify for FMLA leave and you follow all the procedures for requesting leave your employer must allow you to take the leave. While on leave your job must be protected.
In addition, you must continue to be covered by group health insurance under the same terms and conditions as prior to taking leave.
If your employer refuses to allow you to take FMLA leave, refuses to give you your job back when you return from FMLA leave you, or otherwise violates the FMLA law your employer may face serious and costly consequences.
An employer may, for example, be required to reinstate an employee, pay the employee back pay, and even pay medical bills that would have been covered by group insurance.
If you feel that an employer has violated your rights under the FMLA it is imperative that you consult with an experienced Florida employment law attorney right away because there are very strict time frames within which you must pursue your legal rights under the FMLA. Contact the experienced Florida employment law attorneys at Celler Legal, P.A. by calling 954-716-8601 to schedule your appointment.