The Family and Medical Leave Act provides important support for employees who need to take time off to treat a serious medical condition, or to care for a family member with a serious medical condition. For covered employers, complying with FMLA is not voluntary. If an employee is eligible and requests leave, the employer must usually provide it. Employees sometimes know this but still do not know what to do after the employer has denied an FMLA leave. If your employer has not allowed you to take an FMLA leave or use intermittent leave, below are steps you can take.
First and foremost, you must find out why you were denied leave. If your employer is covered by the FMLA and says something such as, “I just cannot afford to let you go right now,” or “This is our busy season,” those are not legal reasons to deny your leave. However, if you do not qualify for leave, that is a valid reason for a denial. To qualify, you must have worked for the same employer for 12 months, worked 1,250 hours within the past year, and your employer must employ a minimum of 50 people in a 75-mile radius of your worksite. If you qualify and your employer is covered by the FMLA but still denies your leave, you can then take further action.
The United States Department of Labor oversees and enforces the FMLA. You can file a complaint by sending correspondence to the address listed on the website, which is in Washington, D.C., or you can contact a local branch. You can simply explain the situation to a representative or within your letter and they will then conduct an investigation. If it is found that your employer violated your FMLA rights, the agency will advise of appropriate action that you may take.
An employment lawyer can help you determine if your rights have been violated. Sometimes, a demand letter from an attorney is enough to make employers comply with the law. In other instances, a lawsuit may be necessary if the issue cannot be resolved informally. Under the law, if you are successful in an FMLA lawsuit you will be entitled to certain damages. Speaking to a lawyer as soon as you believe your employer has violated the law can help you to understand your rights and determine if you have a potential cause of action. The FMLA, like other employment laws, has a statute of limitations. If you do not take action within the applicable statute of limitations, you will lose your rights.
If your FMLA leave has been denied, our Columbus employment lawyers are here to help. At Marshall Forman & Schlein LLC, we can advise on your eligibility for FMLA and evaluate whether you have a potential case. Call us today or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help with your case.
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