Rights Under The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
When facing a devastating illness, you may not be able to work as normal. You may be too ill to work, or you may have doctor's appointments during the week. You may fear losing your job, but the only thing you should worry about is getting healthy. That's why the federal government enacted the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Learn more about your rights under FMLA and about FMLA law cases so that you can learn if you were treated unfairly.
Who qualifies for protection under the FMLA?
To qualify for protection under the FMLA, the plaintiff or an immediate family member (dependent, parent, or spouse) must have a qualifying disability. To be a qualifying major health issue, the plaintiff must have medical documentation of the serious injury or ailment. Furthermore, the plaintiff must have worked at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months at a public employer or private employer with over 75 employees.
Under the FMLA, mothers can't get fired for taking time off to care for their babies. Families can also use the time to welcome adopted children or foster children into their homes, too.
What protections are offered under the FMLA?
The FMLA ensures that employees with qualifying illnesses can take up to twelve weeks of unpaid work off in a year without fear of being fired. The employee can take all twelve weeks off at one time or spread it out throughout the year. The employee will not receive a paycheck, but they will still retain their health insurance during this time. When the employee returns from leave, the employee is guaranteed a similar position with equal compensation and benefits as previously.
What do I do if I need to take time off due to my health or a new addition to the family?
If you need to take time off, start by going to the doctor to get a professional opinion about your condition. Once you visit a doctor, visit a lawyer with documentation of your disability. The lawyer will examine your evidence and determine whether you qualify for protection under the FMLA. If you do, you can talk to your human resources department to go through the proper channels with your employer. If your employer denies you, talk to your lawyer.
Keep in mind that your employer can fire you for poor performance if you do not live up to expectations when you are on the job.