Family and Medical Leave
Medical and family emergencies may come up many times over a worker's lifetime. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that permits unpaid, job-protected leave for employees of covered employers so that they may tend to medical conditions, the birth of a child, or a sick loved one. Not all employers understand their obligations under the FMLA, and an employee may need to enlist a New York City FMLA attorney to fully assert their rights. At the Arce Law Group, our experienced employment lawyers can help you fight for your rights under the FMLA if your employer fails to meet its legal obligations.Rights Provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act
Under the FMLA, eligible employees of employers covered by the law are allowed to take 12 workweeks of leave for specific medical or family reasons. The leave is unpaid, but their job is protected during that time. This means that your employer may not terminate you or retaliate against you for requesting leave that qualifies under the FMLA.
When you come back, your employer is supposed to restore you to your position or an equivalent one that has equal pay and benefits. However, the employer does not need to allow benefits or seniority to accrue while you are gone. If an employer claims that a denial of restoration is necessary to stop a substantial and grievous economic injury to its operations, it is supposed to let you know so that you have a chance to come back.
Employers covered by the FMLA include all public agencies and private sector companies with 50 or more employees for at least 20 workweeks in the prior or current year. You may be eligible for FMLA leave if you work for an employer that is covered, you worked for 1,250 hours during the 12 months before you want to take the first day of leave, you worked for your current employer for 12 months, and you work at a location where the employer has 50 or more employees within 75 miles. The 12 months do not need to be consecutive, but usually only employment within seven years counts, unless you have a service break because of military obligations, or a collective bargaining agreement applies.
The reasons for which you may take FMLA leave include the birth of a child or caring for a newborn within one year of their birth, an adopted or foster child's placement with you within one year of the placement, caring for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition, or a medical or health condition that makes you unable to perform essential job duties.
You may also obtain this leave for qualifying exigencies due to your spouse, son, daughter, or parent being a covered military member on active duty. You may also get 26 workweeks of leave in a year to care for a covered service member who has been injured or gotten sick if you are that service member's spouse, daughter, son, parent, or next of kin.
In some cases, an employer contests whether a serious health condition makes an employee unable to perform their job duties. A health care provider might need to certify that it does, and in some cases, employers may require a second opinion from a different health care provider.
If your employer violates the FMLA, and you are denied your right to job-protected leave, you may sue in civil court for interference or retaliation. To establish interference, you will need to show that you were eligible for FMLA leave, the defendant is a covered employer, you were entitled to FMLA leave, you gave your employer notice of your intent to take leave, and you were denied an FMLA benefit. To establish retaliation, you will need to show that you engaged in conduct protected under the FMLA, and you suffered an adverse employment action as a result.Discuss Your Case with an FMLA Attorney in New York City
Monetary damages that may be awarded as a remedy in an FMLA lawsuit include lost back pay, lost front pay, liquidated damages, and attorneys' fees and costs. Injunctive relief may also be available. The New York City FMLA lawyers at the Arce Law Group can help you file a lawsuit if your rights have been violated. We represent clients in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, and we also have offices in both Newark and Philadelphia, from which we can serve clients in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Call us at 212-248-0120 or use our online form to schedule a free consultation. We also can assist people who need a sexual harassment attorney or guidance in another type of employment claim.