Are you in the process of filing an employment claim in California and wondering about the important things to know about FMLA? Contact us.
Denied FMLA Leave
Over the last year, we’ve represented employees who had claims under both the Family Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act. The FMLA, the Family Medical Leave Act, is the federal statute; the CFRA, the California Family Rights Act is basically California’s version of the FMLA. We’ve had cases in which we represented employees who are current employees of an employer, and that employer violated the CFRA or the FMLA because they refused to provide leave under the CFRA or the FMLA or failed to compensate the employee while they were out in a manner which was consistent with the CFRA or the FMLA.
More often than not, unfortunately by the time they contact the firm, it’s a situation in which the employer has received notice that the employee needs leave, and the employer simply denies the leave and terminates them, or the employee requests the leave, is denied, and then the employee has no other option but to quit. Both the FMLA and the CFRA protect employees that qualify to have up to 12 weeks of leave per year. You’re entitled to the same position that you had at the time that you took the leave, and you’re also entitled not to be retaliated against for taking the leave. If you feel that you’ve been retaliated against or if you feel that your rights have been interfered with, as it relates to either the FMLA or the CFRA, it’s important for you to talk to an attorney that can answer your questions.
Important Things to Know About FMLA
I routinely receive calls regarding employees that have taken leave under the FMLA, the Family Medical Leave Act. The FMLA is actually a federal statute, and it protects employees who become disabled or need to take medical leave either for themselves or for a family member. There’s specific requirements as to who’s eligible to take leave under FMLA and how long that leave is available. While many people actually call the office regarding FMLA leave, for the most part we actually don’t ever file a claim under FMLA. We actually file claims, typically, under the CFRA, the California Family Rights Act. The CFRA is California’s version of the FMLA. There’s various reasons why we file claims under the CFRA and not the FMLA. The CFRA provides the same type of protection as the FMLA. It actually covers more disability and more conduct than the FMLA does. It also allows us to file claims within state court, rather than having to file a claim in federal court. A lot of times when employees take leave under the CFRA, they take 12 weeks of leave. At the end of the 12 weeks of leave, their employer tells them that they’re on unprotected leave and that they can be terminated for any reason because they burned through their 12 weeks of FMLA leave. Our firm spends a lot of time litigating issues as to what protections an employee has, once that employee goes through 12 weeks of leave. A lot of times employers are just simply incorrect. The fact that you’ve actually used 12 weeks of leave under the CFRA doesn’t mean that your continued leave is unprotected. There’s another area of the law called the Fair Employment and Housing Act, FEHA. FEHA also requires an employer to provide additional leave beyond 12 weeks, if that employee needs it as a form of reasonable accommodation, and it doesn’t require an undue burden upon the employer. If you’ve taken leave or you have questions regarding leave, or you’re at a point where you’ve actually gone through your 12 weeks of CFRA leave or FMLA leave, and you still need additional leave, and the employer isn’t willing to give it to you, or you have any questions with regard to leave, it’s important that you find an attorney that can answer those questions for you. It’s important for you to find an attorney that’s litigated both FMLA claims, CFRA claims and FEHA to make sure those questions are answered.
Here at the firm, we get a good number of calls regarding employees that have had to take leave away from their employer and whether or not they’re entitled to take medical leave under the FMLA. We spend a good amount of time identifying how big the employer is and how many hours the employee worked in the last year. In order to qualify for leave under the FMLA and California’s CFRA, the California Family Rights Act, you have to work for an employer that has more than 50 employees in a 75 mile radius, you have to have worked for more than a year, and you have to have worked more than 1250 hours over the past year. If you worked for the employer for more than a year and you worked for more than 1250 hours over the past year, and they have more than 50 employees in a 75 mile radius, then you’re arguably entitled to leave under the Family Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act. Those are all pretty fact-specific questions. Are there 50 employees in a 75 mile radius? Sometimes you’ve worked for two employers; you worked for a temp agency for nine months, and then you got hired on and you’ve worked for your current employer for ten months, but you’ve reported to the same location. Those are fact-intensive questions as to whether or not those times and those hours count towards your qualifying for FMLA or CFRA. Regardless of whether or not you qualify for leave under CFRA or FMLA, it’s also important to note that there’s other leaves that are available to you. For example, the Fair Employment and Housing Act requires an employer to provide leave for a medical condition if it’s not an undue burden. FEHA doesn’t require the employee to work for more than a year. FEHA applies from day one that you got there. The Fair Employment Housing Act doesn’t require that you work a certain number of hours or that they have 50 employees in a 75 mile radius. Sometimes, with regards as to whether or not an employee is entitled to leave after 12 weeks have expired, the employer says that you’ve burned through your CFRA and that you’ve burned through your FMLA time. The employer says, “You either have to come back now, or I’ll terminate you.” What employers don’t understand is, in addition to the CFRA leave and the FMLA leave, employees are entitled to additional leave under the Fair Employment and Housing Act. Even though you’ve done your 12 weeks of leave seeking medical care, you may need some additional time to finish up your treatment or you need additional leave because you have treatment every Tuesday or every Friday. Under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, you very well could still be entitled to leave beyond the 12 weeks. If you or a family member have a condition that requires you to be away from work, whether it’s for up to 12 weeks or whether it’s more than 12 weeks, understand that under California law you have protection under various statutes.
Are you or a loved one in the process of filing an employment claim in California and are wondering about the important things to know about FMLA? Contact the experienced California employment law attorneys at the Myers Law Group today for a free consultation and case evaluation.