Events like welcoming a child into your family, treating a serious health condition, or taking care of a sick loved one can be incredibly demanding. Thankfully, state and federal laws, including the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), allow eligible employees to take time off from work.
The FMLA provides you with certain protections. While you’re on leave, your employer cannot
- Cancel your benefits: If you receive health insurance or other established benefits as part of your employment, your employer must maintain the benefits in the same manner as before you went on FMLA leave.
- Withhold unconditional pay increases: Employers must pay any unconditional wage increases, such as scheduled cost-of-living increases, while you are on leave. And based on your employer’s policy and practices, they may or may not be required to pay conditioned pay increases.
- Interfere with your time off: While you are on leave, neither your employer nor your colleagues can interfere with that time off. They should not require you to come in or perform job-related duties, or pressure you into taking off less time than you want.
- Fire or demote you for exercising your rights: If you are eligible for FMLA, you have the right to request and take that time off. If your employer demotes or fires you or demotes you for taking leave, they can face retaliation claims and damages.
- Falsely claim you are not eligible for leave: Manipulating your schedule or altering your period of employment to claim you are ineligible for leave is prohibited.
Violations related to the FMLA happen far too often. These violations rob employees of money, job security, and essential employment benefits that they rely on – particularly in the wake of a serious family or medical event.
If you are the victim of an FMLA violation while you are on leave, legal action can be appropriate. Consult with an experienced employment lawyer to help recover compensation, pursue job reinstatement, and discuss other options for protecting your rights.