The Family & Medical Leave Act provides job protection to some workers who need to miss work due to their own health condition or that of a family member. While the FMLA is not an anti-discrimination statute per se, it does provide job protection for work absences due to health conditions.
The FMLA covers only certain employers and employees. For an employee to enjoy the job protection of the FMLA, his or her employer must employ 50 employees in a given location. In addition, the employee must have worked for that employer full-time for a year. If either of these conditions is not met, then the FMLA will not apply.
If an employee qualifies for FMLA leave, he or she can miss up to 12 weeks of work per year for a covered medical condition. That means your employer must guarantee you your own job or an equivalent job even though you miss work. In addition, your employer must maintain your group health coverage while you miss work.
The FMLA covers leave if you have to miss work due to your own serious health condition. It also covers leave to take care of a newborn or newly adopted child. It also covers leave for you to take care of a family member with a serious health condition. Finally, it covers leave to care for a wounded or ill family member who is in the military service.
If your employer fires you while you’re on FMLA leave, or takes some other action prohibited by the FMLA, you can sue your employer. The FMLA allows you to pursue your lost wages, double damages, and attorney’s fees.
If you think your employer may not be compliant with the FMLA, or if you have questions about your rights and responsibilities under the FMLA, give us a call.
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