Indianapolis FMLA Lawyers Fighting for Employee Rights
Employees have certain legal rights in the workplace. These rights are protected by federal laws but are often violated by employers. When employees are entitled to family and medical leave as defined by the Family Medical Leave Act and an employer violates this right, it is a form of discrimination that employees can take legal action against in a court of law. When dealing with this type of unfair treatment, FMLA attorneys may be able to help employees get the time off they need for pregnancy, medical conditions, or other family events covered under this federal law.
Call The Law Office of Deidra N. Haynes today at 317-982-7396 for answers to your FMLA questions.
What is the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
The Family Medical Leave Act is a federal law meant to enforce time off for employees for certain medical or family reasons. There are certain parameters set up within the FMLA regarding the leave and eligibility. In order to be eligible for family or medical leave, the employee must have worked for at least 1,250 hours for the company within the previous 12 months. Under FMLA, the time off allowed is 12 weeks of unpaid leave. The employer is also not allowed to stop or reduce the healthcare benefits of the employee during this time. If an employer does not grant the eligible employee leave or reduces health benefits, it may be a case of discrimination, and an experienced FMLA lawyer may be able to help.
What Does FMLA Cover?
Aside from the terms of employee eligibility and how long unpaid leave may last, the FMLA also outlines what is covered under it. While it is most commonly associated with pregnancy and childbirth, FMLA covers several scenarios where an employer is required to grant eligible employees unpaid leave. The scenarios or conditions of leave under the FMLA are specific, and the eligible employee must fall under one of these in order to expect an FMLA unpaid leave.
FMLA covers the following:
- Birth of a child, post-birth recovery, and bonding time
- Placement of an adopted or foster care child and bonding time
- Serious health condition of employee
- An employee caring for a spouse, child, or parent (either biological or adoptive) with a serious medical condition
- An employee caring for a spouse, child, or parent seriously wounded or with a serious medical condition while being active in the military, including National Guard and Reserves
These events are covered under FMLA, and an employer must grant eligible employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave as a result. The only exception to this is that an employee caring for an active-duty family member may be granted 26 weeks of leave.
Does FMLA Provide Job Protection?
One of the main concerns of an employee in need of a family or medical leave is that they will lose their job. FMLA protects workers from losing their job while away on eligible leave. This means that the employee will not be terminated or demoted while on leave. If the position is filled during absence, the employee must be reinstated with the same status, salary, and benefits upon their return. The employee also cannot be terminated as a result of layoffs while on FMLA leave. If an employee returns from an approved FMLA leave to find they are no longer employed, or they are demoted upon their return, they should contact an FMLA lawyer in order to take legal action against the employer.
What Does an FMLA Lawyer Do?
An FMLA lawyer assists clients in claims of Family and Medical Leave Act violations. These violations include not granting leave, granting leave but not the full 12 weeks, firing or demoting employees while on leave, and any other related violations. It is important to keep in mind that FMLA violations from an employer may be rooted in other forms of workplace discrimination, such as disability, sex, and pregnancy discrimination. An experienced FMLA lawyer will consider if there are other instances of discrimination against their client or others within the company. An FMLA attorney will answer any questions the client has about the case and possible outcomes. They will also serve as a representative in court and when dealing with the employer on this matter. If a person suspects they are facing FMLA discrimination or violations, contacting an FMLA lawyer is one of the first steps to take.
While most people think of FMLA violations as not granting time off or terminating an employee while they are on leave, there are other subtle ways an employer may be violating the protection offered by FMLA. Here are a few common ways employers violate FMLA leave:
- Asking or pressuring the employee to come back early from leave
- Misunderstanding or diminishing what is considered a serious medical condition
- Offering leave to employees only when it is the employee and not acknowledging the family-related FMLA guidelines
- Taking disciplinary action of any type for an eligible leave
- Excessively contacting the employee about work-related matters while they are on leave
- Delaying the employee’s return after leave
There may be other examples of FMLA violations or discrimination, which is why speaking with an FMLA lawyer is recommended for anyone worried they are being treated unfairly in the workplace before, during, or after an eligible leave.
Find Legal Help Today
Taking time off from work under FMLA should never add to the stress of illness, childbirth, or caring for a loved one. With a focus on serving clients and protecting their rights under the law, FMLA attorneys fight on behalf of clients when they need it most. Contact us at 317-982-7396 today to see how we can help you in the face of FMLA violations.