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Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Woodland Hills FMLA Attorneys

Experienced Counsel from The Law Office of Payab & Associates

California's Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives many California workers certain entitlements when suddenly faced with circumstances that prevent them from working. For businesses, it is critical to comply with the FMLA to avoid damaging legal entanglements. For employees, it is also possible to fight back against employers who refuse to provide the leave the FMLA guarantees.

No matter which side of an FMLA issue you may be on, The Law Office of Payab & Associates is ready to assist you. We have more than two decades of combined experience in the California employment law arena and know what it takes to protect and assert our clients' interests. If you are a business interested in FMLA compliance or a wronged employee who needs their FMLA rights spoken for, our Woodland Hills FMLA lawyers are prepared to help you assess your options.

Call our firm at (818) 918-5522 today. We're ready to help you navigate your FMLA issue.

A Brief History of FMLA

The Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, entered the law in 1993. President Bill Clinton signed the act to help workers balance job responsibilities and family needs. The law grants eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for specific family and medical reasons. Employers must protect their workers' jobs during these necessary leaves.

Before FMLA, taking leave risked an employee’s job security. Workers who faced serious health issues or needed to care for family members were vulnerable. FMLA changed this dynamic. The law acknowledges that everyone has times when family and health must come first. It covers public agencies, schools, and companies with 50 or more employees. Workers can use leave for childbirth, to care for a sick family member, or for their own health.

Over the years, FMLA has helped millions. It has allowed parents to bond with new babies and adult children to care for aging parents. Most businesses have learned to adapt and continue operating when employees are out.

However, after over three decades of FMLA’s existence, some employers still violate the law or try to work around it. When that happens, our firm is there to step in and help workers.

What Does FMLA Provide?

The Family and Medical Leave Act was put in place to protect employees who suddenly face challenging circumstances from losing their jobs. FMLA provides these employees with 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period. During this leave, employers cannot fire the employee for their lack of attendance in the workplace. Workers become eligible for FMLA protection when they've worked for an employer for at least one year and worked at least 1,250 hours during that previous year.

Under FMLA, employees can take leave when:

  • They adopt a child.
  • They have a serious health issue.
  • They give birth and must take care of a new child.
  • They must care for a child, spouse, or parent with a serious health issue.

Who Must Comply with FMLA

Not every employer in California must provide FMLA leave benefits to their employees. Some consideration is made to smaller companies that may not have the infrastructure in place to grant significant leave. The only businesses that are mandated to provide FMLA leave are those that employ 50 or more people who live within a 75-mile radius of the workplace. If a company does not meet these requirements, they do not have to provide FMLA leave.

Examples of FMLA Violations

FMLA violations can occur in several ways. For instance, employers commonly refuse an eligible employee's legitimate request for leave. The employer may not recognize the circumstances as eligible for FMLA leave. In other cases, an employer may not give the full amount of leave that the employee deserves.

  • Employers could also be guilty of retaliation. They might demote, penalize, or fire an employee for requesting or taking FMLA leave. Employers cannot use FMLA leave as a negative factor in employment decisions. This violation undermines the purpose of the act.
  • Many employers also fail to maintain an employee's health benefits during leave. The FMLA requires that employers keep an employee's health coverage in place while they are on leave. 
  • Some employers fail to provide equivalent positions with the same pay and benefits when an employee returns from leave. Denying such reinstatement is a violation.

Moreover, employers can interfere with or deny a worker’s rights to FMLA benefits. Such violations include:

  • Outright denying leave
  • Not providing employees with required notices about their FMLA rights
  • Discouraging workers from using FMLA leave, subtly pressuring them or making them feel guilty.

Steps to Take When Your Employer Violates FMLA

When you suspect an FMLA violation, act quickly. 

First, identify the specific action that violated the law. Gather all related documents, such as leave requests, denial letters, and any written correspondence with your employer. Also, collect timesheets and pay stubs. Keep records of all conversations where you discussed your FMLA leave. 

Next, speak to your employer. Discuss the issue and reference the FMLA. Remember to stay professional, and avoid confrontational language. Focus on the facts of the FMLA violation. Maintain clear communication with your employer throughout. Sometimes, employers correct mistakes when they are made aware of them.

If you face immediate repercussions, document these, too. This evidence supports your case. 

When all else fails, contact an attorney. We can help you file a claim with the Department of Labor. This organization offers assistance with FMLA issues. Our team can assist with your report, and we can help you meet all the necessary deadlines. Legal time limits apply to these actions. 

Do not face your critical FMLA issue without an experienced advocate by your side. Contact our firm online today to request a confidential case evaluation.

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Why Choose The Law Office of Payab & Associates?

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