The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1933 (FMLA) is a federal law that protects employees who need to be absent from work. The leave may be necessary due to the worker suffering a serious health condition, caring for a newborn, or having to care for a vulnerable family member.
However, not every employee is covered under the law. Under federal law, eligible employees must satisfy two criteria:
- Have worked for at least one year (1,250 hours) on a full-time basis for the employer
- Be working in a firm that employs 50 or more employees
Some states have additional FMLA laws.
The District of Columbia Family and Medical Leave Act (DCFMLA) says employers with 20 or more employees must provide 16 weeks of unpaid family leave and 16 weeks of unpaid medical leave during a 24 month period. The DC Human Rights Act of 1977 further protects District of Columbia employees against discrimination for employees with family care responsibilities.
What FMLA Provides For Employees
The maximum annual duration that a worker can take an FMLA leave is 12 weeks. While on leave, your employer shouldn’t cut you off from the company’s group health insurance coverage even if you take unpaid leave.
When you return from leave, your employer must give you your old job. However, if you are a key employee, then the employer has a right to replace you.
Should you need a reasonable accommodation, perhaps because you suffered a disability while on leave, your employer should provide what you need.
When to Contact an FMLA Claims Lawyer
The FMLA is an employee-friendly law. Leave laws are designed to keep you from being denied a leave request, whether it’s for sick leave, family leave, or parental responsibility. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen, and you may need to contact a federal FMLA claims lawyer in Washington, D.C. to help you.
Here are some scenarios when you may need an attorney:
Example: Your employer denies you a legally entitled FMLA leave
- They make subtle remarks or threats to discourage you from taking the leave
- They require an impractical notice than the one provided by the FMLA
- They miscalculated the time you have worked for the company
Example: Your employer violates your rights while you’re on leave
- Cutting off your group health insurance benefits
- Pressuring you to return to work
Example: Your employer dismisses you from your job
The employer shouldn’t hold anything against you for taking FMLA leave. Contact a lawyer if the following happens:
- You’re assigned to a different position
- The employer fails to restore the benefits you enjoyed earlier before you went on leave
- Your employer keeps postponing the reinstatement of your immediate position
- Your employer punishes or fires you
- Your employer fails to reinstate you by wrongly referring to you as a key employee
- Your employer refuses to work with you due to a disability you got during the leave
HKM Employment Attorneys LLP can protect your employee rights, whether you’re a federal employee or a private sector worker. Contact one of our employment lawyers if you feel that your employer hasn’t followed FMLA rules or denied your request for leave.