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Bryant Whitten, LLP

Family Medical Leave Act discrimination lawsuits up significantly

Despite recent positive changes in state laws, many in California and throughout the country still face stiff opposition when asking for both paid and unpaid time off for family reasons. There are some employers who make getting time off difficult because they simply do not understand current laws. However, others understand their employees' rights, yet they still choose to continue improper business practices. This has resulted in a dramatic increase in lawsuits due to Family Medical Leave Act discrimination.

According to a recent article, The University of California School of Law released a litigation trend analysis that shows that more men and women are bringing suit against their employers when faced with family-leave discrimination. When employees feel as if they are facing discrimination over protected time off, the article suggests several issues that they may wish to consider. One of the main points made is that the laws governing family leave are complex, and employees should not just to count on their bosses or HR departments to understand them.

The article further states that while employers have generally embraced the concept of time off for a mother after the birth of a child, most have not fully accepted new laws that protect fathers' rights for paternity leave. Additionally, family-leave laws also cover an employee when he or she has to take time off to care for an elderly family member. This is often an area that employers are not aware is covered under FMLA.

Employees in California may benefit from an attorney's advice if they feel they are facing employment discrimination for rights that are protected by the federal Family Medical Leave Act and state family-leave laws. There have been progressively more stringent protections enacted for a worker's benefit over the past several years. An attorney who focuses on employment law could be the best source of information regarding the legal options available to an employee based on his or her unique situation.

Source: The Huffington Post, "More Employees Are Suing Over Family-Leave Discrimination. Here's What You Need to Know.", Tom Spiggle, June 14, 2016

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