How To Recognize FMLA Violations By Employers

By: Eva Zelson
On: March 29, 2024

FMLA Violations

Understanding Your Rights Under The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Family Medical Leave Act, commonly referred to as FMLA, enables qualified employees the ability to attend to their own or a family member’s serious medical condition by offering job protection. Established in 1993, FMLA provides and preserves employees’ rights during their absence. FMLA provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year that includes continued benefits such as health insurance. Private businesses that employ over 50 people and all public agencies must adhere to FMLA regulations. For an individual to be eligible for a FMLA leave, they must have been employed by their employer for 12 months or 1250 hours over the past 12 months. Common requests that FMLA can be applied are:

  • Childbirth and newborn care
  • Care for a family member with a serious health issue
  • Care for your own serious health issue that prevents you from working
  • Care for child that has been placed with employee via adoption or foster care

FMLA violations occur when employers fail to provide and comply with these regulations. This law prohibits employers from also retaliating or interfering with employees seeking or using a leave of absence that meet FMLA qualifications. If your rights through FMLA have been violated by your employer, you have the right to file a retaliation or interference claim against them and seek compensation for the damages that were incurred during this time. Contact Zeff Law Firm to discuss your legal options.

FMLA Violations: Failing To Recognize Serious Health Conditions

Employers failing to recognize serious health conditions are committing FMLA violations. The definition of a serious health condition is quite complicated. Ailments such as the common cold, the flu, or stomach viruses do not qualify as a serious health condition. However, the FMLA outlines serious conditions, illnesses, or injury that calls for absences that:

  • Extend past 3 consecutive days and require in-person visit to a health care provider and treatment regimen.
  • Are related to pregnancy
  • Requires inpatient care or treatments
  • Are related to the treatment of chronic conditions (diabetes, asthma, epilepsy, arthritis, migraines, etc.)
  • Are required for conditions for multiple or long-term treatments and recovery (chemotherapy, dialysis, physical therapy)
  • Required for conditions that are permanent or untreatable (AIDS, cancer)

Employers who refuse to allow employees to leave to attend to these conditions are directly committing FMLA violations.

FMLA Violations: Disciplining Employees For Excessive Absences

It is an FMLA violation when an employer takes disciplinary actions or attempts to interfere with an employee’s right to to a leave of absence. Common employer methods to deter or discipline employees from utilizing the rights under FMLA are:

  • Denying eligible employees authorization for FMLA leave
  • Intimidating or discouraging an employee from utilizing FMLA leave
  • Factoring FMLA leave into certain types of attendance policies
  • Utilizing FMLA leave in consideration for promotions, hiring, and disciplinary actions
  • Falsifying or manipulating employee work hours for ineligibility of FMLA

When employers hold your rights under FMLA against you, it is in your best interest to seek the consultation with an experienced FMLA attorney.

FMLA Violations

FMLA Violations: Failing To Inform Employees Of  Their Rights And Obligations

Failing to inform employees of their rights and obligations provided by FMLA is tantamount to an FMLA violation. Employers are obligated by the Department of Labor to post and/or share the Department’s FMLA poster as well as providing employees general notices through an employee handbook or upon hiring. Employers can violate FMLA if they deny an employee leave for failing to comply with the employer’s policies for requesting leave when they were not informed of the procedure and time frame for filing for a FMLA leave.

FMLA Violations: Failing To Recognize Employee Notice

Employees when providing their employer with the necessary and sufficient information, are not required to mention FMLA when requesting a leave of absence. It is the responsibility of the employer to classify the information as a FMLA leave. For employers who fail to recognize an employee’s request for leave is covered by FMLA is an FMLA violation.

FMLA Violations: Requiring Employees To Give Too Much Notice

FMLA requires employees to give employers 30 days’ notice for an FMLA leave if the employee has prior knowledge of the issue. However, in some cases where this time frame is not applicable, FMLA may begin on short notice. Employers violate FMLA by manipulating the guidelines. If employers require notice beyond 30 days, they are in FMLA violation. In emergency situations, employers are expected to exercise flexibility in accommodating their employee’s needs. A lack of flexibility in this regard is also a FMLA violation.

Contact The Zeff Law Firm For Legal Advice On FMLA Violations

FMLA protects your job and your employment rights amidst the need to take a leave of absence due to serious medical circumstances for yourself or your family. If you believe you have experienced an FMLA violation by your employer, contact the expert FMLA attorneys at Zeff Law Firm to schedule your consultation today.

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