The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was signed into law to protect families who need to take a certain amount of time off for medical reasons. Employers and significant corporations may not always honor this act or not allow the respected time off. When this happens, it is time to contact an FMLA lawyer in Tampa to fight for your rights as a parent or as an individual.
This act allows for up to 12 weeks of work missed for severe conditions, illnesses, or childbirth. Those employers or companies who do not allow the workers this time are in complete violation of federal law. Some have terminated their employees for using the FMLA to cover their health. This is not only unfair, but it is illegal, and you have a case.
How Do I Know If I Am Eligible?
If you feel you were wronged and your rights were violated for this act, you should get with an FMLA attorney to review your case. Listed below is what they will look into to see if you are eligible for compensation or have a claim for a lawsuit.
A worker is allowed up to 12 workweeks of leave for the following:
- Childbirth or the caring of a child after birth within a year;
- If the employee requests adoption or foster care, they have the same rights as a parent giving birth for child care;
- Caring for a spouse, parent, or child who is in critical condition with their health;
- If the employee has a severe illness that needs care. If they cannot handle their functions on the job, they have the opportunity and the time to get well;
- If the spouse, son, daughter, or parent is in the military and has an emergency.
Up to 26 workweeks are permitted for the following:
- To care for any military personnel who are ill or have a severe injury.
By law, once the time frame is up and the worker can go back to work, the employer is required to reinstate the employee’s position.
The Attorney Can Determine If You Qualify
It is essential to understand that not all workplaces fall in the category of the FMLA. The FMLA applies to the following:
- Public and Private Schools;
- Public Agencies;
- Businesses with 50 or more workers;
- Businesses that report to a central location, such as a chain store or franchise;
- The employee must have one year with the company or 1250 hours total in a year to qualify under FMLA. This means part-time and full-time applies.
What Consists of Serious Illness?
To fall in the category that is covered under the FMLA, a severe health condition of at least one must be present:
- If the worker had an overnight stay in the hospital;
- If the worker is incapable of performing their duties for three or more consecutive days out of the calendar year;
- Any chronic disorder that requires multiple visits for treatment (chronic back injury, diabetes, asthma, MS)
- Pregnant or prenatal care;
- Permanent or long-term disability (stroke, Lupus, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease);
- After surgery, treatments for three or more consecutive calendar days;
- Any work-related illness or injuries;
- The employee is also covered if they have to care for any dependent going through the same health issues.
- Maternity leaves, even for the father’s to take care of their wife or child if they are seriously ill.
What Happens If The Employer Violates The FMLA?
If you feel the company you work for has violated the FMLA, you can bring a lawsuit for returning your job and monetary compensation. The attorney will review all facts and different angles to be sure.
- You requested time off for serious illness for you or your immediate family member, and the employer refused to grant it;
- If you were terminated or disciplined with a write-up or verbal warnings for requesting the time off;
- If you were forced to come back to work before the time was up for leave;
- Refused to restore you back to your former position after time was over.
A court order can demand you receive your FMLA leave, your reinstatement of the position you held at the time of departure, out-of-pocket cost, front pay, back pay, liquidated damages, the value of benefits lost, and court costs and attorney fees.
Weighing Your Options
Some states can terminate employees for no reason, and however, they must follow the laws. If the employer reinstates your position, keep in mind, they may find another reason to terminate you. It has happened too often, so be sure to weigh your options if it is worth the fight or compensation.