Los Angeles Family Medical Leave (FMLA) Attorney

In previous years, when a person left work for an extended period of time for family or medical reasons, he or she may have returned to find his or her position no longer available. Since 1993, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has eliminated this concern for American employees and guarantees that they can return to their jobs if they are forced to leave work to handle a medical or family-related issue.

Family and Medical Leave Act laws establish several requirements for employers, and there are federal and state-level standards that must be taken into account. It is a good idea for all American employees to understand FMLA and its related laws and what to do in case of a violation. You should always report a violation to the EEOC and your HR department, then you should contact a Los Angeles employee lawyer.

Los Angeles Family Medical Leave Resources

What Does FMLA Protect?

FMLA laws typically apply to one-year periods, as one year is deemed an appropriate timeframe to handle most family or medical matters. Employers covered by FMLA must permit employees 12 work weeks of leave for certain situations and allow them to return to the same position with the same terms and conditions once the situation has been resolved or addressed.

Some examples of situations that would entitle an employee to FMLA benefits include:

  • The birth of a child as well as newborn care during the child’s first year of life.
  • Arranging adoption or foster care for a child.
  • Caring for an immediate family member’s serious health condition, such as a child, spouse, or parent. Qualification concerning ill children typically only applies for children under the age of 18; however, if the illness renders a child incapable of performing basic living activities, FMLA may be extended to care for children over the age of 18.
  • Any serious health condition that renders the employee unable to continue working, such as chemotherapy treatment for cancer.
  • Caring for the illness or injury of an immediate family member who is an active duty service member (the window for leave is extended to 26 weeks in these cases).

Employers choose how to calculate an employee’s FMLA leave, and covered employers may select:

  • One calendar year
  • A fixed leave year of any 12-month period (employers commonly select the employee’s date of hire or the company’s fiscal year)
  • Twelve months from the date FMLA leave begins
  • Twelve months preceding the date when FMLA leave begins

FMLA does not guarantee pay. Employees may have disability benefits to secure partial wages during leave. Other types of leave can count toward an employee’s FMLA allotment as well, such as workers’ compensation and short-term disability.

Employer Obligations for FMLA Leave in California

Most employers must follow FMLA leave guidelines if they employ a certain amount of employees. Additionally, employers must continue to pay for any medical benefits that the employee has through the company. Some employers will require an employee to use accrued paid leave before FMLA leave begins.

Navigating an FMLA claim can be complex, and employers are limited in the amount of proof that they may require to approve FMLA leave. For example, if you contract a serious illness and treatment demands that you stay home from work, you may need to provide proof of your diagnosis. However, your employer cannot demand to see your private medical records.

Examples of FMLA Violations in Los Angeles

There are many ways in which an employer in Los Angeles can violate the terms of the FMLA. Although some employers are unaware of their legal responsibilities and unintentionally violate the FMLA, most knowingly and intentionally do so in an attempt to benefit in some way, such as save money or boost productivity. The following are common examples of FMLA violations in California:

  • Giving away the employee’s job while he or she is on medical or family leave.
  • Terminating the employee while he or she is on leave.
  • Terminating the employee soon after he or she returns to work.
  • Making significant changes to the employee’s job duties, compensation or work environment.
  • Demoting, reassigning, relocating, or excluding an employee after taking leave.
  • Retaliating against the employee by punishing him or her for requesting FMLA leave.
  • Denying the employee the right to take FMLA leave.
  • Wrongfully terminating or demoting an employee for complaining about an FMLA violation.

If you feel that any of the legal rights given to you by the Family and Medical Leave Act have been violated by your employer, seek legal advice immediately. You may be able to take legal action. If you are not sure if an action taken against you violates a state or federal law, take your case to an attorney for a consultation. An attorney can carefully review the facts of your case to let you know if it has merit.

Protections Under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

In addition to the FMLA, employers in California must also obey the rights given to workers by the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). The CFRA allows employees in California to take up to 12 weeks of paid or unpaid job-protected leave per year. If an employee decides to take this leave, he or she will receive the same health insurance benefits paid by the employer that the employee had while working.

Under the CFRA, an employee who is eligible can take this leave for family-related matters, such as:

  • The birth or adoption of a new child
  • Foster care placement
  • To care for an immediate family member who has a serious health condition

The employee also has the right to take CFRA leave for his or her own serious health condition. An immediate family member refers to a spouse, child, or parent. A serious health condition is any injury, illness, or medical condition that requires inpatient care, absence from work or school for more than three consecutive days, ongoing professional treatment, or restorative dental or plastic surgery after an accident.

The main differences between the CFRA and the FMLA are that the CFRA does not view pregnancy as a serious health condition, the CFRA covers registered domestic partners (the FMLA does not), and the CFRA does not cover time off for active military duty or medical care for a service member who is not a spouse, child or parent. Like FMLA violations, as an employee, you have the right to file a lawsuit against your employer for an alleged CFRA violation in California.

Termination and Discrimination Upon Return to Work

Some employers respect the requirements of the FMLA and CFRA during the employee’s time of absence, only to retaliate against the employee upon his or her return to work. The employer might believe that waiting until after the leave has ended will protect him or her from allegations of retaliation. However, it is still an illegal act of misconduct.

Any adverse employment action upon your return to work is cause for concern and deserves attention from an attorney. This includes job termination, demotion, pay cuts, harassment, and discrimination. You may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer for retaliation upon your return from FMLA or CRFA leave.

Know Your Options for an FMLA Lawsuit

FMLA is a federal standard meant to protect employees’ jobs when they need time to handle personal or health-related matters. If employers violate an employee’s right to FMLA leave, the employer can be held liable for violations of both federal and California state law. If you have encountered difficulties or resistance for filing a request for FMLA leave, you need to connect with a reliable, established legal professional to handle your case.

Your Los Angeles Family Medical Leave Lawyers

At Mathew & George, our Los Angeles family medical leave attorneys are committed to advocating our clients’ rights under FMLA laws. When employers violate these laws, they need to be held accountable. Employees who qualify for FMLA leave must be allowed to do so. If you have questions about California’s FMLA laws or have recently encountered an issue with your employer, call us at (310) 478-4349 to schedule a free consultation. We will review the details of your situation and inform you of your legal options.