FMLA Discrimination Lawyer Columbus
Most employment positions do not provide employees with enough paid sick leave if they have to deal with a serious illness and take an extended absence from work. Fortunately, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that provides workers with 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period. Employees have the right to take this unpaid leave as long as they meet the requirements, and it is illegal for employers to retaliate against them, or discriminate against them for taking or requesting leave. Any employee who believes they have been discriminated against should contact a FMLA discrimination lawyer in Columbus.
How to Qualify for FMLA Leave
Unfortunately, not all employees qualify for FMLA leave. To be eligible to take leave, employees must work for a public or private business of a certain size. Employees must also have worked a certain number of hours. FMLA leave can be used so an employee can receive treatment or recover from a serious medical condition, including pregnancy-related issues, or if they need to care for a relative that has a serious medical condition.
Employers are not allowed to interfere with an employee’s leave and must provide it as long as the worker qualifies.
Types of FMLA Discrimination
Many people feel as though they have been discriminated against by their employer by requesting or taking FMLA leave, but they are unsure if discrimination took place. A few ways employers discriminate against employees are as follows:
- Refusing the leave: Employers cannot refuse FMLA leave when an employee makes a request and the worker qualifies for the leave.
- Refusing to reinstate: Employers must also reinstate the employee to their same position, or an equal position, upon the employee’s return to work.
- Offering lower pay: When employees return to work they must receive the same rate of pay they earned prior to taking the leave. Benefits must also continue throughout the leave and when the employee returns to work.
- Refusing to hire: Employers are not allowed to refuse employment to a person based solely on the fact that they have taken FMLA leave in the past.
When employers engage in any of these behaviors, they can be held accountable for FMLA discrimination.
The Challenge with FMLA Discrimination Claims
Although employees have the right to file against their employer if they were denied qualified leave, or faced other types of discrimination, there is a significant challenge with these claims. The FMLA statute does prohibit employers from retaliating or discriminating against employees that took or requested FMLA leave. However, employees sometimes still have limitations on the right to reinstatement, such as when the employer argues the termination was due to performance-related issues and not the FMLA leave.
This caveat is a challenge for many employees that are fired after requesting or taking FMLA leave because the employer may argue that they were fired for another reason unrelated to their leave. It is important that employees understand that the burden of proof is on the employer to prove that the employee was fired due to job performance reasons, and nothing else.
Our Ohio Employment Lawyers can Help With Your Claim
If you have taken medical leave, or have requested it from your employer and feel as though you have been discriminated against for it, our FMLA discrimination lawyers in Columbus are here to help. At Marshall & Forman, LLC, we understand what the law says about FMLA leave, and how to hold your employer accountable if they have discriminated against you for taking or asking for leave. Call us today or contact us online to learn more about how we can help.