Our Florida Firm Protects Your Rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Balancing work and family life in Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties
Pfeffer & Associates is a premier employment rights law firm with a history of prevailing in complex Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) claims. During almost three decades of legal practice, our discrimination lawyer has witnessed the extraordinary advances in the legislation that supports a healthy balance of work and family life. However, although progress has been made, many workers still face problems when they exercise their rights under the FMLA.
In an attempt to balance the demands of the workplace and family life, the U.S. Congress passed the Family Medical Leave Act in 1993. This legislation allows employees under certain circumstances to take leaves of absences and to be given their jobs back upon their return. Since its passage, the courts have made a number of decisions interpreting the FMLA, and so the application of the law is constantly developing and changing.
Providing information about your rights under the FMLA
At our law firm in Jupiter, Florida, Louis P. Pfeffer, our discrimination attorney advocates for the fair application of this crucial statute by your employer, and we hold your employer accountable for violations of the law. You can read some vital information about asserting your rights under the FMLA:
- Employers who are subject to the FMLA laws
- Qualifying for family medical leave
- Rights under the FMLA
- Employees’ obligations under the FMLA
- Employer’s obligations during leave
- Job restoration
- Rights against retaliation
Employers who are subject to the FMLA laws
Some states have enacted their own FMLA laws, but Florida has a similar law only for public employees covered under the Florida Retirement System. You may, however, be covered under the federal FMLA that applies to:
- All public agencies, including state, local and federal employers
- Local schools
- Private sector employers who employ 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year
Qualifying for family medical leave
To be eligible under the FMLA, you must meet certain conditions, including that you:
- Work for a covered employer
- Have worked for the employer for a total of 12 months
- Have worked at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months
- Work at a location that is within 75 miles of where the employer has at least 50 employees
Rights under the FMLA
If you qualify, FMLA permits you to take an unpaid leave of absence for a total of 12 workweeks during any 12-month period. The reasons for your leave can be:
- For the birth and care of your newborn child
- To care for your adopted or foster son or daughter
- To care for your immediate family member — a spouse, a child or a parent — with a serious health condition
- Related to your serious health condition
Employees’ obligations under the FMLA
You must put your employer on notice that you plan to take a leave of absence under the FMLA — normally 30 days advance notice if your need is foreseeable. For unanticipated and emergency situations, notify your employer as soon as possible that you have started an FMLA leave. Your employer may require you to provide a medical certification supporting your claim that you or your immediate family member has a serious health condition.
Your employer may also request a second or third medical opinion and periodic recertification at your expense and may ask you to submit periodic reports regarding your status and intent to return to work. If you need intermittent leave to care for an immediate family member or to treat your own illness, you are obligated to try to maintain a treatment schedule that does not unduly disrupt your employer’s operations.
Employer obligations during leave
Employers are not required to pay you during your FMLA leave, but must maintain your group health insurance coverage on the same terms as if your work was uninterrupted. In some instances, your employer may recover premiums paid for your health coverage if you do not return to work from FMLA leave.
Job restoration and rights against retaliation
A job-restoration guarantee is the hallmark of the FMLA. Upon returning from FMLA leave, you are guaranteed your original job or a position with equivalent pay, benefits and other terms of employment. Use of FMLA leave cannot result in the loss of any employment benefits, nor can it be counted against you under a “no-fault” attendance policy.
The FMLA prohibits your employer from denying you leave or disciplining or retaliating against you for exercising your rights. You can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division or sue your employer for violating the law. In a private civil action, you may be entitled to recover back pay, front pay and other economic damages, such as medical bills incurred because of your lost health insurance coverage. Additionally, you can seek liquidated damages — a doubling of damages if your employer cannot prove that violation of the FMLA was in good faith. The court may also order your employer to pay your attorney’s fees.
For more details on the FLMA, contact the firm that’s dedicated to defending Florida workers’ rights
For more information on FMLA, call Pfeffer & Associates at 561-745-8011 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our attorney handles your Family Medical Leave Act claim on a contingency fee basis.