There are a wide variety of reasons you may need to take a leave of absence from your job. Unfortunately, some employers may unfairly and illegally discriminate against those who wish to go on extended leave. Remember, you have rights to take leave and you have certain protections for retaining your job in Washington D.C.
Federal Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Under federal law, you have a right to take 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave per year. Your job is protected during the leave. All federal employers are required to offer FMLA leave to eligible employees.
The Family Medical Leave Act allows eligible employees to take time off for the following medical and family-based reasons:
- Birth of a child
- Bond with a newborn or adopted child
- Placement of a child into adoption or foster care
- Care for your own or a loved one’s serious medical condition
Under FMLA, employees are required to also comply with specific notice guidelines. For instance, a federal worker must give 30-days’ notice prior to taking an FMLA-covered leave, or as much notice as deemed “practicable.” If the notice requirements are fulfilled, an employee is entitled to an FMLA-covered leave of up to 12 weeks. If an employee fails to provide notice in a timely manner, the leave may be unprotected by FMLA.
Retaliation for taking FMLA Leave
In many cases, employers take adverse action against employees who take leave through FMLA. Fortunately, employers are prohibited from taking action against an employee because of FMLA.
The following are common examples of retaliation:
- Firing an employee for taking FMLA
- Demoting an employee for taking FMLA
- Counting time off
- Cutting off health insurance
- Harassing or pressuring an employee while on FMLA
Keep in mind, if there a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for termination, then it would be considered lawful. For example, if an employee would have been fired due to poor performance despite FMLA leave, then the employee may be terminated before, during, or after FMLA. Additionally, if an employee fails to meet the goals of a corrective action program aimed at performance improvement, then the employee may be fired upon return from FMLA leave.
If you believe you have a legitimate case of discrimination based on medical leave, our Washington D.C. employment law team at The Law Firm of John P. Mahoney, Esq., Attorneys at Law, PLLC is committed to helping you obtain the justice you deserve. We can thoroughly evaluate your case and determine all of the necessary legal actions to take toward a favorable outcome.
For more information, contact us and request a consultation today.