When you or an immediate family member needs to attend to significant health conditions, welcomes a new child into the home or experiences pregnancy complications, you may legally request leave from your job in order to care for your family or your health.
The Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, is a federal law that enables eligible employees to request extended, unpaid leave from work without the risk of losing their jobs. This law also prohibits several forms of employer retaliation, including disciplinary action, wrongful termination or career demotion. If you suspect such retaliation with regard to your employment after making an FMLA request, you may be a victim of FMLA discrimination.
In order to allow employees to take care of health and family responsibilities while maintaining job protection. As an employee, FMLA entitles you to:
- Up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave
- Uninterrupted health benefits
- The opportunity to substitute accrued paid leave for some or all of the FMLA time
- The same or an equivalent job upon your return to work
While you are not guaranteed the same position when you resume employment, your employer must offer a position with identical pay, benefits, schedule, location and employment conditions.
In some instances, employers may attempt to interfere with or deny FMLA benefits. Employers are in violation of FMLA protections when they:
- Refuse to authorize leave
- Alter or manipulate your work hours or responsibilities
- Demote your position or deny a promotion
- Restrict guaranteed benefits
- Exact negative employment consequences after an FMLA request
- Terminate your employment
- Consider FMLA a no-fault work attendance issue
- Remove key job duties or responsibilities
Employers must legally grant FMLA time to all eligible employees. Should your employer exhibit one or more of these behaviors, you may have grounds to file a claim.