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Medical Leave of Absence Lawsuits

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What Is a Medical Leave of Absence?

A medical leave of absence is a leave of absence that an employee takes from work due to a medical condition. Medical leaves of absence are governed by state and federal laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). These laws specify details such as how long medical leave can last, and what types of conditions qualify for a leave. Medical leave laws also guarantee that the worker will retain their position upon return to work, and in some cases, can receive pay during the leave.

What Is a Medical Leave of Absence Lawsuit?

Legal disputes over a medical leave of absence can be remedied in a number of ways. Smaller disputes and conflicts can often be handled be the company’s human resources department, or through a review with the management level. This is especially the case for clerical errors or oversights. Other minor issues can be resolved by filing a complaint with the Wages and Hours Division of the Department of Labor (DOL). Oftentimes, the DOL can conduct an investigation and suggest a remedy before any other legal action becomes necessary.

However, for more serious violations or for more widespread leave of absence issues, it may be necessary to file a private lawsuit. A medical leave of absence lawsuit may be more fitting for serious cases where the damages can be quantified in terms of a definite dollar amount. These can include issues such as:

  • Loss of employment while on a valid medical leave, which is wrongful termination
  • Discrimination (for instance, denying medical leave to an entire class of workers based on their age or race)
  • Demotions or withholding of a promotion in a response to a medical leave request
  • Denial of worker’s benefits or other rights due to a leave issue
  • Constant harassment or intimidation while the employee is on leave or about to take leave (for instance, inappropriate phone calls to the employee during their leave)
  • Long term reduction or loss of wages

What Should I Consider When Filing a Medical Leave of Absence Lawsuit?

When filing a lawsuit based on a medical leave of absence claim, it is important to keep track of time with regards to the incidents or violations in question. You will usually have two years to file a lawsuit from the time of the medical leave violation. Failure to file a lawsuit within that time period may disqualify you from receiving a damages award or other remedies from the court.

Also, the FMLA does not require that you file a claim with the Department of Labor before you file a lawsuit. However, state or local laws might require you to file with a government department prior to filing a private suit. Thus, you should check the laws in your area or consult with a legal profession regarding the exact steps to take when filing a claim.

Lastly, punitive damages and recovery of attorney’s fees may be allowed in lawsuits where the employer is found to have acted willfully in violating FMLA provisions.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Medical Leave of Absence Lawsuit?

Medical leave of absence lawsuits can often be serious, especially if they affect a large group of workers. You may need to hire an employment law attorney in your area if you need assistance with an employment law issue. Your lawyer can perform various tasks such as legal research, trial preparation, and representation during court sessions. Also, if you need to file for a specific remedy, your attorney can help explain what your options are under the FMLA and similar laws.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 07-08-2015 02:27 PM PDT

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