Fort Lauderdale FMLA Attorney
Understanding Your Rights in Florida, Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico & New York under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
The Family and Medical Leave Act allows employees to take time off work without pay to deal with family and health-related issues, such as the birth of a child, surgery, or caring for an ill family member. In order to qualify for job-protected time off under the FMLA, you must have been working for your employer for a period of at least 12 months and more than 1,250 hours. Additionally, your employer must have at least 50 employees. After taking leave, you have the right to be restored to the same position or an equivalent position.
Unfortunately, employers do not always honor the rights granted by the FMLA. If you have had to make the tough choice between your health or your family and your job because your employer refused to grant your rightful family or medical leave request, we can help. The Fort Lauderdale Family Medical Leave attorneys at USA Employment Lawyers can serve as your trusted legal advocate as we fight tirelessly to protect your rights.
When Are You Allowed to Take Family or Medical Leave?
The FMLA allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in the event of a family or medical event. If you and your spouse/partner work for the same employer, it is possible that you may only be entitled to 12 weeks of combined leave.
Under the FMLA, you are allowed to take a leave of absence for any of the following reasons:
- Caring for a newborn child
- The adoption of a child
- The arrival of a foster child
- Receiving care for a serious health condition
- Military family leave
- Caring for an immediate family member with a serious health condition
If you need to take a leave of absence due to a serious health condition, you will need to obtain a medical certification from a qualified health care provider within 15 calendar days of taking leave. If you wish to take a leave of absence because an immediate family member has a serious health condition, it is important to remember that, by law, “immediate family members” consist of a child, spouse, or parent; in-laws are not considered “immediate family members” under the FMLA.
Have Your FMLA Rights Been Violated?
The primary right granted by the FMLA is the right to return to your old position or an “equivalent” position after taking a leave of absence. In other words, your employer must allow you to return to work in a similar capacity with equivalent pay, benefits, and status at the conclusion of your leave. There are few exceptions, including when an employee is found to have caused significant financial harm to the employer. In such cases, the employee must be notified of this in writing and must still be afforded the opportunity to return to work.
If you took a leave of absence covered by the FMLA, your employer is not allowed to:
- Fire you for taking leave
- Discipline you or demote you for taking leave
- Take your request for leave into account when promoting
- Consider FMLA leave in the scope of a no-fault attendance workplace policy
- Change or limit your work hours to influence your FMLA eligibility
Employers are also prohibited from discouraging other employees from taking family or medical leave. If you believe your rights have been violated, or if you are facing workplace discrimination as a result of taking FMLA-related leave, get in touch with our team right away for a free case evaluation with one of our FMLA lawyers in Fort Lauderdale.