Family And Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Violations

The Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. An employee is eligible for FMLA leave if they have worked for their employer for at least 12 months, at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months, and worked at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius.

According to the United States Department of Labor, FMLA applies to all public agencies, all public and private elementary and secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees. Qualified employers must provide an eligible employee with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for any of the following reasons:

  • For the birth and care of the newborn child of an employee;
  • For placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care;
  • To care for an immediate family member (spouse, child or parent) with a serious health condition; or
  • To take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.

The FMLA does not require an employee to take 12 weeks of uninterrupted leave. If medically necessary, an employee may qualify for "intermittent leave." Intermittent leave enables an employee to take leave in certain blocks of time, or to take leave that will reduce their weekly or daily schedule. However, employees needing intermittent/reduced schedule leave for foreseeable medical treatments must work with their employers to schedule the leave so as to not disrupt the employer's operations.

What Constitutes A FMLA Violation?

Generally speaking, an employer is prohibited from interfering with, restraining, denying an employee's exercise of FMLA rights, or retaliating against an employee for reporting an FMLA violation. Most commonly, FMLA violations take two forms: FMLA interference or retaliation for exercising rights under FMLA or reporting an FMLA violation.

One question that employees routinely pose to our firm is in regard to job restoration. In other words, what rights does an employee have when he/she returns from FMLA leave? The short answer is that the FMLA requires that the employer return the employee to the same job, or one that is nearly identical. If an employer is unable to place an employee in the same job, the nearly identical job must offer the same general work schedule, and be at a geographically proximate work site, involve substantially similar duties, responsibilities and skills, and offer identical pay, bonus opportunities and benefits.

Contact Our Skilled Employment Lawyers

It is important to remember that the FMLA only requires that qualified employers provide eligible employees with unpaid leave. However, employees may be eligible to run certain paid leave concurrently. The FMLA is a complex area of law that requires a detailed, in-depth analysis of the facts and allegations surrounding a purported FMLA violation.

If you believe that your rights, pursuant to FMLA leave, have been violated, contact one of our experienced employment attorneys today at Foote, Mielke, Chavez & O'Neil, LLC for a free case evaluation. Contact us online or by telephone at 630-232-7450. We handle cases throughout the Chicagoland area and have an office in Geneva, Illinois.