Many employers offer their employees vacation time, sick time and personal days to take some time to focus on things outside of work. Sometimes, however, an employee will require additional time off to deal with illness or other major life changes. Employers covered under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) must provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to eligible employees for any of the following:
- Birth, fostering or adoption of a child within first year/one year of birth/placement
- Serious medical condition that keeps the employee from working
- Providing care to listed family member with serious illness
- Qualifying exigency relating to military service of listed family members
Common FMLA violations
Sometimes an employer may intentionally or negligently deprive an employee of the leave they are entitled to take under the FMLA. Common violations include:
- Requiring an excessive amount of notice to request leave
- Denying or delaying a legitimate request from eligible employee
- Requiring employee on leave to continue working
- Taking adverse action against an employee for requesting or taking leave (retaliation)
If you are eligible for FMLA leave, you have a legal right to take time off work without having to worry about the consequences. If your employers denied your leave or punished you for exercising your rights under the FMLA, they can be held liable for damages for violating the FMLA.
You may be entitled to back pay, front pay, emotional distress, and even punitive damages. To find out more about your legal options, consider speaking with an employment law attorney to discuss the specifics of your case.