After getting sick or experiencing a debilitating injury, you need accommodation or time off work to recover. When you make the request or take protected medical leave, your employer may not retaliate with a termination or demotion.
Review the signs that you may have experienced unlawful retaliation after your medical leave or request for accommodation.
You could experience this type of retaliation if your doctor recommends a part-time schedule but your supervisor still expects full-time productivity. Another example might occur if you always had a day-shift schedule so you can work while your children go to school, but you suddenly find yourself on the overnight shift without notice or reason.
Refusal to recognize leave
If you have obtained medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, your employer must hold your job for up to 12 weeks. You do not need to take this time off all at once. For example, you may have a chronic medical condition that requires frequent rest days and doctor’s appointments, but you can still work full time. If your employer counts these days as regular sick time instead of FMLA, it could be retaliation.
Denied request for accommodation
If you requested an accommodation for work restrictions, your employer must engage in the interactive process, in good faith, in order to find an accommodation. For example, you might need a different chair, or a schedule change. If the employer does not try to find accommodation or retaliates, you have rights.
Loss of opportunities
While you technically still have your job, you find you are no longer receiving the opportunities you did prior to medical leave or accommodation. Maybe you expected a promotion or raise that does not materialize. Perhaps your boss leaves you out of meetings or assigns you dead-end projects. These actions may all fall into the category of retaliation depending on the circumstances.
You can either file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the Equal Employment Opportunity Council (EEOC), a lawsuit or a federal claim with the U.S. Department of Labor if you suspect employer retaliation.