Custis Law, P.C. provides skilled legal representation for employees who have experienced violations of their protected leave rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and other federal and California laws. If you would like to speak with a protected leave violations attorney, contact us online or at (213) 863-4276 to schedule a free consultation.
While your job is important, it isn’t the only thing that matters in your life. In fact, even if you are fortunate enough to get paid to do something you love, when it comes down to it, going to work every day most likely is not your top priority. Parenthood. Family. Health. These are what really matter, and these can – and should – take precedence when you are forced to choose between devoting time to your family and devoting time to your job.
Fortunately, this is what the law says as well. Under various state and federal statutes, employees in California are entitled to take leave to tend to personal and family needs. These “protected leave” statutes ensure that employees can take maternity leave or paternity leave, leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition, or leave to recover from an illness or injury without having to worry that they are putting their job at risk.
Unfortunately, many employers violate these protected leave laws. From denying protected leave requests to refusing to reinstate employees who take leave, employers in California routinely infringe upon their employees’ statutory rights. If you believe that your protected leave rights have been violated, we can help you. Please call (213) 863-4276 or contact us online to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an FMLA attorney experienced in California employment law.
If you are in need of a Family and Medical Leave Violations Attorney, contact Custis Law, P.C. today for a free consultation.
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Recognizing Protected Leave Violations in the Workplace
What does it mean for a leave of absence to be “protected”? As it turns out, quite a lot. Under California and federal law, it is unlawful for a covered employer to take any of the following actions against an employee who has requested or taken protected leave:
1. Failing (or Refusing) to Provide Protected Leave
If you are entitled to take protected leave under California or federal law, your employer cannot legally prevent you from doing so. Whether due to a lack of understanding of the legal protections that are in place, a desire to keep you on the job, or an intentional attempt to deny you of your rights, preventing you from taking protected leave is never acceptable.
2. Interfering with Protected Leave
An employer can also be held liable for a protected leave of absence violation if it interferes with an employee’s right to take protected leave. This “interference” can include intentionally misrepresenting the employee’s rights, suggesting that taking leave could have a negative impact on the employee’s job, or trying to compel an employee to work (or feel compelled to work) while on protected leave.
3. Terminating an Employee for Requesting or Taking Protected Leave
Firing an eligible employee who requests or takes protected leave is a form of wrongful termination under state and federal law. This is true for all types of protected family and medical leave.
Importantly, taking protected leave does not grant an employee additional protection from termination. If your employer conducts a division-wide reduction in force—or lay off—while you are on leave, your employer may be able to legally eliminate your position. However, your employer cannot legally eliminate your position by mischaracterizing a wrongful termination as a neutral reduction in force. These issues can be complicated. If you have been fired after requesting a protected leave, or while you are out on leave, contact a wrongful termination lawyer at (213) 863-4276 for a free, confidential consultation.
4. Failing to Reinstate an Employee Following Protected Leave
Under California and federal law, employees who take protected leave are entitled to reinstatement, with only very limited exceptions. If your employer denies reinstatement, it must prove that it has adequate legal justification for doing so. Failure to reinstate includes not only outright termination of employment, but also placement in a position that is not equivalent or comparable to the employee’s position prior to taking leave.
If you suspect that your employer has violated your protected leave rights, please call (213) 863-4276 or contact a FMLA attorney online to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
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Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and California Family Rights Act (CFRA)
For employees in California, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) are two of the primary laws that provide protection for eligible leave. Each has specific eligibility requirements, and each provides protection for specific types of eligible leave.
Basic FMLA Rights and CFRA Eligibility Requirements
The basic eligibility requirements under the FMLA and CFRA are as follows:
- Employment Duration: You must have at least 12 months of service with your employer;
- Hours Worked: You must have worked at least 1,250 hours for your employer during the past 12 months; and
- Employer Size: Your employer must have at least 50 employees employed within 75 miles of your job site.
Types of Leave Under the FMLA and CFRA:
Under the FMLA and CFRA, eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of protected leave:
- for the birth of a child, and to bond with a newborn child;
- to bond with an adopted child or a child placed with the employee for foster care;
- to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition;
- to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition; or
- for certain circumstances arising when the employee’s family member is on or called to active duty status as a member of the Regular Armed Forces, National Guard, or Reserves
Leave under the FMLA and CFRA generally may be taken all at once or intermittently on an as-needed basis. Under certain circumstances, your employer may ask you to take leave in two-week blocks. If you have questions about these options, contact a Los Angeles FMLA lawyer for a free, confidential consultation. (213) 863-4276.
Additional Pregnancy and New Parent Protected Leave Laws
In addition to the Family and Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act, two other laws provide important additional protections for pregnant women and new parents in California: (i) the California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL), and (ii) the California New Parent Leave Act (NPLA).
1. California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL)
The PDLL provides up to four months of job-protected leave for women who experience a pregnancy disability. A “pregnancy disability” is defined as a physical or mental condition related to pregnancy or childbirth that, in the opinion of her health care provider, either: (i) prevents performance of essential job duties, or (ii) would result in undue risk to the woman or her pregnancy if job performance is continued. As identified by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), examples of eligible pregnancy disabilities include (but are not limited to):
- Gestational diabetes
- Loss of pregnancy
- Medical conditions requiring bed rest
- Post-partum depression
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension
- Prenatal or postnatal care
- Severe morning sickness
The PDLL applies to California employers with five or more employees. Leave under the PDLL may also be taken all at once or intermittently on an as-needed basis.
2. California New Parent Leave Act (NPLA)
The NPLA is similar in scope to the FMLA and CFRA in terms of the types of protected leave offered to new parents. However, the NPLA applies to employers with between 20 and 49 employees. If you work for a large company, you should request protected leave under the FMLA or the CFRA. If you work for a smaller employer that employs between 20 and 49 employees, you should request leave under the NPLA.
Additional Protected Leave Laws for Employees with Disabilities and Serious Health Conditions
Unfortunately, many employers will attempt to terminate employees who have exhausted their protected leave under the laws discussed above. If you have used up your protected leave eligibility under these laws and you need additional time off due to a disability or serious health condition, you may be entitled to additional job-protected leave as a “reasonable accommodation” under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) or the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If you have questions about these options, contact us for a complimentary, risk-free consultation. (213) 863-4276.
Let a Los Angeles FMLA Attorney Fight for You
If you believe that your employer has violated your rights to a protected leave of absence, a Los Angeles employment attorney from Custis Law, P.C. can help. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, please call (213) 863-4276 or inquire online today.
We handle all protected leave violations cases on a contingency basis. That means you pay us nothing unless and until we obtain a settlement or verdict for you.
Contact Custis Law, P.C.
If you would like to schedule a free, no-risk consultation with Custis Law, P.C., call (213) 863-4276 or submit a request through our online form. If we cannot answer you inquiry immediately, we will be in touch within 24 hours.