Linnen Co., L.P.A has protected the rights of numerous clients in Northeastern Ohio under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). Under certain circumstances, you may be entitled to take an unpaid leave of absence from work under the FMLA. The FMLA allows you to take up to 12 weeks of continuous or intermittent leave during any 12 month period for one or more of the following reasons:
When you return from your FMLA leave, your employer must restore you to your former position or a similar position with the same salary, benefits, and responsibility.
The FMLA applies only to employers who employ 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius of where the employee regularly works. Also, you must have worked for your employer for at least one year and must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months period preceding the leave of absence. However, you do not have to be eligible at the time that you request leave. You may have rights under the FMLA as long as you will be eligible on the prospective date for the requested leave.
In order to be protected under the FMLA, you must give your employer notice that you require a leave of absence from work. You are not required to specifically ask for leave under the FMLA, nor are you required to know that FMLA leave even exists. You are only required to give enough information to your employer that would reasonably put them on notice that you intend to seek leave under the FMLA. If the leave is foreseeable — scheduled surgery for example — you are required to give your employer at least 30 days notice. If the leave is unforeseeable, you must provide notice as soon as practicable. To protect your rights under the FMLA, you should consult with an attorney experienced in employment law to determine if you have met the FMLA notice requirement.
You are not entitled to the protections of FMLA for all types of illnesses or health conditions. The condition or illness must be “serious." The FMLA defines a “serious health condition" as any illness 1) that involves inpatient care in a facility, or 2) that prohibited the employee from working for more than three consecutive days and required continuing treatment by a health care provider. Although you are not required to have a medical provider certify that you or your family member suffers from a serious condition, your employer may request such a certification.
Your employer is prohibited from 1) interfering or discouraging you from exercising your rights under the FMLA, and 2) discriminating or retaliating against you for seeking leave under the FMLA. To establish a claim for interference, you only need to demonstrate that you were entitled to protection under the FMLA and that your employer interfered with exercising your rights. To establish a claim for discrimination or retaliation you need to show that:
If successful, you can recover lost wages, benefits, attorney’s fees, and other costs. The court, in certain situations, may also increase the award by an amount equal to your actual damages and order reinstatement.
You must file a lawsuit within two years of the violation or within three years if the violation was willful. There is no requirement that you file an administrative claim prior to proceeding to court. Sometimes these matters can be resolved prior to filing suit, but if a lawsuit is not commenced within the required time, you will forfeit your rights.
If you feel that your employer has retaliated against you for exercising your rights under the FMLA or interfered with your rights under the FMLA, you should contact an attorney that is experienced in employment law to protect your rights.
For more information see the Department of Labor's FMLA website.
To request a confidential analysis by an Akron FMLA attorney, you may contact us by email, by completing our confidential Do I Have a Case? form, or by calling us directly at (330) 258-8000.