Family & Medical Leave Act Violations

Akron FMLA Attorney Serving Northeastern Ohio Employees

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:

  1. the birth and subsequent caring of a child,
  2. the placement of a child with you for adoption or foster care,
  3. to care for a spouse, child, or parent suffering from a serious health condition, or
  4. a serious health condition that renders you unable to perform the functions of your position.

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.

Who is Covered Under the FMLA?

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.

What Qualifies as a “Serious Health Condition" Under the FMLA?

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.

When an Employer Violates the FMLA

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:

  1. you sought leave under the FMLA,
  2. you were adversely effected by an employment decision (terminated, reduction in pay, etc.), and
  3. you were adversely affected because you were exercising your rights under the FMLA.

What You May Receive if Your Employer Violated Your Rights to Medical Leave

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.

When to File an FMLA Lawsuit

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.

Contact Us for a Confidential FMLA Case Analysis

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.