What Is a Leave of Absence?
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What Is a Leave of Absence?
A leave of absence is a short period of time that an employee takes off from work temporarily. With a leave of absence, the worker generally has the intent to return to their same position after the leave. There are many reasons why an employee may seek a leave of absence (LOA), including family/medical leave, maternity leave, and bereavement. Leave of absences may be either paid or unpaid, depending on the agreement between the worker and their employer.
What Are Some Leave of Absence Disputes?
Disputes over leaves of absence are among the most common types of employment law disputes. Some common leave of absence disputes include:
- Employer’s failure to allow a valid LoA
- Employee’s failure to properly request a leave of absence
- Discrimination (for instance, allowing leave only for workers of a certain race or age)
- Disputes over an unpaid leave of absence
- Disputes over whether a leave of absence is valid or not, especially for medical leave cases
Lastly, one common leave of absence dispute is where an employee is fired during a valid leave of absence. Sometimes, it can happen that a worker takes a valid leave of absence and then returns after their leave, only to discover that they no longer work for the company. In most cases (subject to a few exceptions), employers cannot fire a worker who has taken a valid leave of absence, especially if the leave was taken under a statute such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
What Are the Remedies for a Leave of Absence Dispute?
Some disputes can be resolved internally through human resources mechanisms or through a simple meeting with a supervisor. For instance, small disputes over leave of absence requests might only require a clarification of company policies by taking a look through the employee handbook. However, more serious violations and illegal actions might require a lawsuit to remedy.
For instance, widespread cases where many employees are being denied a leave of absence might require a class action filing to resolve the issue. This might lead to a large damages award for the class of plaintiffs, or a change of company management. Issues involving highly sensitive subjects such as discrimination might require a filing with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or other similar governmental department.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Leave of Absence?
Taking a leave of absence is often necessary and is a common part of most employment situations. However, there can sometimes be various legal issues and concerns associated with a leave of absence. It may be in your best interests to hire an employment law attorney in your area if you have any questions or concerns involving a leave of absence. Your lawyer can provide legal research for your inquiry or can help you file a lawsuit or legal claim if you need immediate assistance with the process.
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Last Modified: 07-07-2015 04:07 PM PDT
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