The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that provides certain employees 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for personal and family serious health events. The FMLA allows workers to take the 12 weeks of leave in a 12 month period for: the birth of a child or to care for a newborn; the placement of a child for adoption or foster care; to care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition; the employee’s own serious health condition; and any emergency arising out of a family member’s military obligations. When taking leave under the FMLA, employers are prohibited from discriminating, interfering with, or retaliating against employees because they took leave, and employees are entitled to a continuation of their health insurance coverage.
The lawyers at Correia & Puth, PLLC have the experience and drive to help employees enforce their FMLA rights and to litigate violations of the FMLA and related statutes. We work to identify employees’ rights under the law, to craft a strategy to employees’ working situation and to remedy injuries, where possible. We counsel employees who believe their FMLA rights have been violated, and work to reinstate employees who have been terminated for exercising their rights under the FMLA. We also negotiate with employers, and file claims in court or with administrative agencies.
“The Family Medical Leave Act provides important job protected leave so that employees are not be forced to choose between keeping their job and caring for themselves or their loved ones.”
Under the FMLA, employers are prohibited from firing or discriminating against an employee for asserting their rights under the law. Under most circumstances, when an employee returns from FMLA leave, he or she must be restored to the same job or to an equivalent job. An equivalent job means a job that is virtually identical to the original job in terms of pay, benefits, and other employment terms and conditions (including shift and location). All benefits an employee had accrued prior to a period of FMLA leave must be restored to the employee when he or she returns from leave, and employees cannot be required to requalify for any benefits the employee had prior to taking FMLA leave.
Under certain conditions, employees may substitute or run at the same time as their FMLA leave, accrued paid leave (such as sick or vacation leave) to cover some or all of the period of FMLA leave. In addition to the rights granted under the FMLA, in the District of Columbia, the law offers broader coverage and protections by providing covered employees with up to 16 weeks of leave. The District of Columbia also requires employers to provide eligible employees with paid leave when they need to care for their own medical condition or diagnosis, or that of a family member.
The FMLA complements other laws to require a covered employer to provide leave. For example, FMLA and the Americans with Disabilities Act grant medical leave to an employee in certain circumstances where a family member with a disability needs care. To read more about the ADA, visit Correia & Puth’s ADA page here. The FMLA and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, an amendment to Title VII, both have requirements governing leave for pregnancy and pregnancy-related medical conditions. To read more about sex discrimination, visit our page here, and to read more about pregnancy discrimination, visit our page here. FMLA also works with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) to ensure that individuals that are away from work because of a military obligation are given credit for their service and are able to access available FMLA leave.
The FMLA gives employees the right to file suit in federal court and recover damages if an employer interferes with their ability to utilize FMLA leave. The FMLA is enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor. An employee must file their lawsuit within 2 years of the violation of the law, or within 3 years if the violation of law was willful. If you believe your employer has violated or is violating your rights under the FMLA, contact us online or call the lawyers of Correia & Puth at 202-602-6500 as soon as possible to ensure that your legal rights are protected.