Family and Medical Leave Act Lawyers
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What Is the Family and Medical Leave Act?
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law, passed in 1993, that entitles eligible employees up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave to care for a new child or an ailing family member, or when a serious health condition prevents the employee from being able to work. Other state laws, such as those for Massachusetts and California, may also apply to your situation. However, bear in mind that many states, such as Alabama, do not have separate state laws that deal with family and medical leave.
What Are My Responsibilities as an Employee?
As an eligible employee, to take advantage of the FMLA, you must:
- Notify your employer that you intend to take FMLA leave.
- Inform your employer how the leave will be taken (periodically, continuously, etc.).
- Provide a medical certification for leave or a fitness for duty certification, if your employer requires one.
- Keep your employer up-to-date with any changes in the circumstances for which your leave is being taken.
- Inform your employer of your continued intent to return to work at the end of your leave.
How Do I File a Complaint under FMLA?
A complaint under the FMLA must be filed by the employee or his representative within two years of the date of the last violation of the Act by the employer. However, if it can be shown that the action taken by the employer was willful, the time to file will be extended to three years.
The complaint may be filed in person, by writing, or by telephone, with the Secretary of Labor by contacting the nearest office of the Wage and Hour Division of the Employment Standards Administration, U.S. Department of Labor. The U.S. Department of Labor will review the merits of the complaint and, if appropriate, resolve the complaint through discussions with the employer.
What Can I Recover in a FMLA Lawsuit?
An employee may choose to file a lawsuit instead of a complaint with the Secretary of Labor. Where this is the case, there is no requirement that the Secretary of Labor be notified before a lawsuit is filed. An employee may recover from the employer:
- Wages plus interest
- Employment benefits
- Other compensation lost by or denied to the employee
- Reasonable expert witness and attorney's fees
- Other court costs
The employee may also obtain equitable remedies such as reinstatement or promotion.
Should I Contact a Lawyer to Discuss My FMLA Issue?
If you have been denied leave or lost your job due to taking leave in violation on FMLA, you should contact an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can advise you of your rights and remedies under FMLA and help you decide whether a complaint or lawsuit is your best avenue for restitution.
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Last Modified: 01-20-2017 08:58 PM PST
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