When employers violate FMLA

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2020 | Employment law

If you qualify to take unpaid leave from your job under the Family and Medical Leave Act, your employer cannot discriminate or retaliate against you when you exercise this right. In addition to keeping your position available for as long as 12 weeks, your employer must continue providing the same health insurance that you had before. 

It is not uncommon for employers to balk at the inconvenience of following this law by making employment decisions that adversely affect injured workers. 

Obvious disregard for the law 

Your employer cannot fire you after you inform your supervisor or HR department that you need to take FMLA leave. You may also have a retaliation case if your manager passes you over for a promotion that you earned or puts someone else in your position and offers you a lower-paying job when you return. 

If you believe your employer violated your rights, you should contact the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, which enforces FMLA. 

Confusion about the law 

Your employer may not be aware of all the requirements regarding FMLA and may make some mistakes unintentionally. For example, your employer may claim you violated the company leave policy, not realizing that situations falling under FMLA have different rules. 

Sometimes, employers ask workers to schedule leave at times that are more convenient for the company. If you can, then that is not an unreasonable request. However, if you must be absent at a certain time, your employer cannot deny it or ask you to postpone medical treatment for the company’s convenience. 

Subtle disregard for the law 

When you return to work, you may find that you have missed some things, such as deadlines or training events. Your employer cannot penalize you for these on your performance review if you are unable to make them up at a later date. Your employer also may not pass you over for a promotion or raise because of the time you were away from work. 

Although your employer does not have to maintain all your benefits as it does your health insurance, it must reinstate them as soon as your leave ends without requiring you to reapply or go through a waiting period.