The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a set of federal rules that limit an employer’s actions when an employee gives birth to a child or must care for a sick or injured family member. It provides unpaid time off while protecting the employee’s position at work, as well as allowing employees to stay on their group healthcare plan, and more. If your employer has fired you, demoted you, decrease your pay, or taken any other negative action because of time you took off that was protected under the FMLA, you need to contact a lawyer at once to discuss your legal options.
Under the FMLA, employees can take unpaid leave from work in the following circumstances when their employer has 50 or more employees:
- Birth of the employee’s child;
- Adoption of child;
- Employee has a serious health condition that renders them unable to perform the normal functions of their job;
- Pregnancy complications;
- To provide care for a spouse, child, or parent during a serious health condition;
- A qualifying exigency due to the employee’s relation to a service member on covered active duty; and
- To provide care for a covered servicemember if the employee is a son, daughter, spouse, parent, or next of kin.
Your employer cannot retaliate in any way when you return from your leave of absence. If they do, they can be held accountable by an employment attorney for the damages that they have caused. Some states have additional laws that protected employees for family and medical leave. Because Missouri does not, your attorney must have intimate knowledge of the FMLA and what protections it grants.
Same Sex Marriage Couples Not Recognized in Missouri
As of 2015, the FMLA redefined its classifications of a spouse, and allowed those in same sex marriages to enjoy the same rights as those in different sex marriages. However, because Missouri does not recognize same sex marriage according to governing.com, those in same sex marriages are not protected under the FMLA when they take time off to care for their spouse.
How Long can I Take a Leave of Absence?
The length of unpaid time that an employee can take away from work and not risk losing his or her job or existing group health care coverage depends on the reason the employee had to take the leave of absence. When taking care of a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness, you have 26 workweeks within a 12 month period. For all other conditions and circumstances, you have 12 work weeks.
Contact a Family Medical Leave Act Employment Attorney for Help
The lawyers at HKM Employment assist employees who have been retaliated against by their employer when they were protected under the clauses of the Family Medical Leave Act. Retaliation includes firing, demotion, wage decrease, forced use of paid or unpaid time off, moving to another department, harassment, discrimination, and more. Do not hesitate to give us a call today to setup a free initial consultation with one of our St. Louis employment attorneys.