My doctor has recommended that I take two to three weeks off following an upcoming surgery. My employer says he will not approve the time off. Do I have any rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act?
Assuming an employee was not injured at work, which would likely fall under workers’ compensation, and, that he or she is indeed unable to work during recovery, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may be a good place to start. The FMLA provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for various reasons including:
- Caring for an employee’s newborn child
- A new placement of a foster care or adopted child
- To care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition, and;
- Medical leave for an employee who is unable to work because of a serious health condition.
The FMLA applies to workers employed in the private sector, where the employer has 50 or more employees. Public entities must comply with the law regardless of the number of employees.
Employees must have 12 months of service with the employer, have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months immediately preceding leave, and must work at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.
The law seeks to balance the interests of the employer with the employees so when leave is needed for planned medical treatment, the employee must make reasonable efforts to schedule treatment to not unduly disrupt the employer’s operations and provide reasonable notice. It may be that the employer will require an employee to use accrued paid leave – sick or vacation time – concurrent with FMLA leave.
Upon the conclusion of the leave, the FMLA requires employers to restore employees to the same or similar job at the same pay. Employers may not terminate an employee or discriminate against any individual because they exercised their right to FMLA leave. If an employer retaliates against an employee with regard to FMLA, employees must file a FMLA violation claim within two years, unless the violation was willful, in which case, the time limit is three years.
Have Your Employee Rights Under Family Medical Leave Act Been Violated?
Contact an Experienced Team of Employment Law Attorneys For Help
If an employee meets the requirements for FMLA protection and their employer fits the criteria for FMLA compliance, FMLA leave may provide the time needed for recovery. If an employer violates FMLA, which sometimes results in a wrongful termination, it is important to contact an experienced employment law attorney to help you assert your rights. If you have been fired form your job or have suffered retaliation, discrimination or harassment after taking FMLA leave, contact the Davenport employment law offices of McDonald, Woodward & Carlson PC for immediate assistance today at 563-355-6478.