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Is your employer interfering with your FMLA leave?

Published By | Aug 11, 2022 | FMLA

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that provides most employees with the right to unpaid, job-protected leave for specific events. If you are taking time off from work to spend time with a new baby or to care for a sick family member, the FMLA helps you focus on that task by eliminating the fear that your job won’t be there when you return from leave.

What interference can look like

Employees on FMLA leave should not need to worry about work demands or responsibilities until they return to work. It is a violation of the FMLA for an employer to interfere with your leave.

Some of the ways in which an employer might interfere with an employee’s FMLA leave include:

  • Preventing an employee from taking leave in the first place
  • Asking the employee to plan a work-related event
  • Assigning a project to be completed while the employee is on leave
  • Requiring the employee to come to the office for meetings, trainings, or any other job-related reason
  • Cutting an employee’s leave short for an assignment or work trip
  • Showing up at an employee’s home without permission to discuss work
  • Requesting that employees call in for meetings while on leave

That said, not every contact constitutes inference.

For instance, it would be reasonable for your employer or temporary replacement to contact you to get keys, passwords or other means of accessing information. Also, if you choose to work while on leave, your employer likely wouldn’t be found to have interfered with your leave, as long as it was your decision to work.

What options do you have?

Demonstrating that an employer interfered with an employee’s protected FMLA leave can be tricky, since certain actions by employers may not be clear violations. In today’s modern workplace, employees who work remotely may have an even tougher time establishing the line between a reasonable request and interference by the employer.

As a result, some employers may not even realize they are doing anything wrong, and some employees may not know which requests are and are not acceptable while the employee is on leave.

If you feel that your employer is interfering with your FMLA leave, it is crucial to address your concerns quickly. Sometimes, speaking up and telling your supervisor or HR representative that you will not be working on your leave can be enough to resolve the problem.

However, if these efforts fail, speaking with an employment attorney can provide clarity on an employee’s rights and potential remedies so that they can make a more informed decision to address any potential FMLA violations.

Dedicated Litigators And Knowledgeable Legal Advocates

The Attorneys of Katz Melinger PLLC