In the U.S., both private and public sector employees have rights. Several laws help ensure a fair, hassle-free, and safe workplace for everyone, such as the FMLA. That said, FMLA violations are more common than you think.
Enacted in 1993, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for themselves or family caregiving and medical issues. It includes time off for:
- Looking after your own serious health condition.
- The birth or adoption of a child.
- Taking care of your child, parent, or spouse with a severe health condition.
This allows you to take time off for medical reasons without fear of losing your job or health insurance benefits. Still, there are a few employers who engage in blatant FMLA violations. These FMLA violations often take various forms, including denying leave, retaliating against employees who take time off, and more.
As a leading FMLA violations lawyer, we would like to run you through a few examples of these violations, how they affect you, and what you can do as an employee to assert your rights.
Understanding Common FMLA Violations Examples
All eligible employees are entitled to FMLA leave, but they still must meet three requirements to file for it.
- You must have worked with your company/employer for at least 12 months.
- You must have worked at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months.
- Your employer must employ at least 50 people within a 75-mile radius of your worksite.
Despite these clear regulations, employers make mistakes that result in FMLA violations, or even actively violate FMLA privileges. But, as an employee, you can voice your concerns immediately.
Here are a few FMLA violations examples.
#1. Refusal to Grant FMLA Leave
When it comes to FMLA violations, many occur when employees need to leave but don’t have the time to give adequate reasons. There are usually two situations that employees have to face.
I. Inappropriate Denial Reasons:
This is perhaps one of the most common FMLA violation examples. You don’t have to ask for FMLA leave. You do have to provide your employee with enough information to help them know that your leave comes under the FMLA.
Sometimes, employers will claim that you didn’t. That way, they can replace you or cease paying you.
II. Denying Intermittent Leave:
Under the FMLA, you can get leave on an intermittent schedule. However, employers may deny intermittent leave, claiming it disrupts workplace operations or is too difficult to manage. This is a classic FMLA violation example.
#2. Interference with FMLA Rights
This occurs when an employer takes actions that prevent an employee from taking or using their FMLA leave. Common examples include:
I. Discouraging Employees From Using FMLA Leave
In some cases, employers may discourage employees from taking FMLA leave. They often:
- Create a hostile work environment.
- Provide negative feedback to the employee.
- Or suggest that taking time off might harm the employee’s career.
These actions are FMLA violations and may result in severe consequences for employers engaged in such behavior. It’s, of course, best to speak with a skilled FMLA violations lawyer first.
II. Making Employees Work During FMLA Leave
Another example of FMLA violation is making employees work during FMLA leave. This often involves asking employees to answer work-related emails or take work-related calls. If an employee has access to something the employer or another employee needs, they are allowed to ask for it, such as login information or keys, but they cannot ask them to complete paperwork or physical tasks beyond that.
For example, the employer might require the employees to attend a meeting or complete a project. Also, employers may penalize employees who refuse to work during their FMLA leave. These are all FMLA violations and might result in legal action.
#3. Failure to Reinstate Employee After FMLA Leave
Making it difficult for employees to return to work after time off is one of the well-known examples of FMLA violations. This is what employees resort to.
I. Job Position Changes
Employers can assign employees undesirable job duties or reduce their hours. These actions can discourage employees from taking FMLA leave. If you think you were subject to such violations, speak with an FMLA attorney immediately.
II. Refusal to Reinstate
This is the ultimate retaliation against employees who take FMLA leave. In such cases, the employer may refuse to reinstate the employee after the time off. It is illegal and might warrant legal action.
Seek Legal Counsel from an Experienced FMLA Attorney
Of course, the first step would be to file a formal complaint with your HR. You can explain the FMLA violations to them in detail and request immediate corrective action. However, if these efforts fail, consult an FMLA attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can:
- Evaluate your case and determine whether your employer has violated your FMLA rights.
- Review your medical records, employment policies, and other relevant documents to strengthen your case.
- Negotiate with your employer on your behalf to resolve any disputes related to FMLA violations.
- Represent you in court to seek legal remedies for the violation of your FMLA rights.
However, before your reach out to your FMLA violations lawyer, make sure to document everything. This includes noting down all the dates, times, and details of incidents related to your case. It’s also necessary to record your correspondence with the employer. This will help your lawyer build a strong case.
Hire an Experienced FMLA Violations Lawyer Now
As an eligible employee, you are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid time off without risking your job or healthcare coverage. However, your employer may not always be willing to adhere to the FMLA leave regulations.
Are you looking for an FMLA attorney? Barrett & Farahany will stand for your FMLA rights. We aim to demonstrate empathy and understanding toward your situation and needs. That’s the best way to legally support you through your hardship. This is how we earn our client’s trust, and they come to value our experience in employment law.
How we do it all is through our communication skills, including the ability to explain complex legal concepts in plain language. Contact our FMLA violations lawyers today for legal representation that will work to protect and help you.