Los Angeles Family Medical Leave Act Lawyer

HomeLos Angeles Family Medical Leave Act Lawyer

Los Angeles Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Attorney

Los Angeles CFRA or FMLA dispute attorney/lawyer Every American employee has various legal protections from specific adverse actions their employers might take at the state and federal levels. Government agencies such as the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the Department of Labor, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) uphold these protections and handle investigations of employees’ claims when they experience adverse treatment in their workplaces. There are also several pieces of specific legislation in place that provide very clear protections for employees with the right to take a leave from work for certain family and medical reasons. The federal law is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the similar state law is the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).

The FMLA and CFRA are federal and state leave laws that allow eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave while the employee:

  • Take medical leave for yourself.
  • Care for a family member who is seriously ill.
  • Bond with a new child.
  • Participate in a qualifying event because of a family member’s military deployment to a foreign country.

The CFRA provides most employees in California with the right to take up to 12 weeks of leave from work to care for themselves or their family members with a serious health condition or to bond with a new child. When the employees return to work from CFRA leave, they are entitled to return to their same or comparable position, among other job protections. Recent California legislation expands the CFRA in some major respects. For example, starting January 1, 2021, CFRA applies to private employers of 5 or more employees, while the FMLA (CFRA’s federal counterpart) applies only to private employers of 50 or more employees. Employers have a legal obligation to honor their FMLA or CFRA requirements. Any employer who fails to uphold this obligation or mistreats an employee who exercises their rights under the FMLA or CFRA is liable for any damage its decisions cause.

Legal Counsel for Los Angeles, CA, CFRA/FMLA Disputes

Clark Employment Law, APC, can provide the legal counsel you need after an employer has unfairly denied an FMLA or CFRA request or interfered with a legitimate FMLA/CFRA request in any way. It’s natural to feel uncertain when you must submit a request for necessary medical leave, but you have the right to expect your employer to handle your request in good faith. If they fail to do so, our Los Angeles based FMLA dispute attorneys can be your best asset in holding them accountable and preserving your rights.

How Does FMLA Work?

Like the CFRA, the FMLA requires covered employers (i.e., public agencies or private employers of 50 or more employees) to provide up to 12 weeks of leave within a 12-month period for any eligible employee with a qualifying reason. Employees are eligible for leave if they have worked for their employer at least 12 months, at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months, and work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles. The FMLA leave may be paid or unpaid. While most American employers will only provide unpaid leave, some employers may offer paid medical leave as a benefit. An employee in California may apply for the Disability Insurance (DI) or Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits with the California Employment Development Department (EDD) as wage replacement benefits.

Notice is required for FMLA requests. For a first FMLA request, an employee does not need to complete any specific formal steps for FMLA leave; the employee is simply expected to provide their employer with as much notice as possible. The employee need not specifically mention “FMLA” while requesting leave; however, the employee must sufficiently notify the employer that the leave is for an FMLA-qualifying reason. Typically, the employee should provide at least 30 days of notice before taking FMLA leave; however, this is not always possible in emergencies. While an employee may not need to explicitly state they are taking FMLA leave if they need to take leave for the same reason twice in one year, they must clearly explain they need FMLA for the second leave period.

FMLA prevents employers from demoting or firing employees who take medical leave and prevents employees from facing discrimination based on FMLA leave; FMLA also ensures job protection for employees who must take medical leave for specific situations. Qualifying for FMLA leave entails certain requirements. For example, the claimant must have a serious health condition, or their immediate family member must have a serious health condition that requires in-patient or ongoing in-home care, such as:

  • Maternity leave for childbirth and caring for a newborn child.
  • Providing in-home care for a spouse, child, or parent who has a severe medical condition.
  • Medical leave for the employee to receive treatment for their own serious health condition.

Under the terms of the FMLA, an employee who has a qualifying reason for an FMLA request has the right to request for family or medical leave. The employer must honor this request and provide job security for the employee. This means that the employer must provide the employee with a guarantee of reinstatement to the same or a comparable position upon the employee returns to work.

Some employers may need to hire additional help to cover an employee taking FMLA leave, but they should only do so temporarily. An employer cannot simply replace an employee who takes FMLA leave, nor may they fire the employee for requesting FMLA leave.

When an employer refuses to grant a legitimate request for FMLA leave, or if an employer retaliates against an employee who requests FMLA leave, the employee should consult an experienced Los Angeles FMLA dispute lawyer as soon as possible.

How Can an Attorney Help?

The FMLA and CFRA make it illegal for a covered employer to interfere with the employee’s right to take a family medical leave, to harass the employee for taking a family medical leave, to deny a valid leave request, or to refuse to hire or promote the employee because he or she has taken or will take a family medical leave. It is also a violation of the FMLA or CFRA for a covered employer to retaliate against the employee for requesting a family medical leave or for complaining about a violation of family medical leave laws.

If you qualify for a family or medical leave under either the FMLA or CFRA law, your employer:

  • may not fire you for taking up to 12 weeks of leave during a 12-month period;
  • must give you back the same or equivalent job (same pay, benefits, working conditions, and seniority) after you return to work; and
  • must continue to pay for your health insurance benefits during your leave as it normally would have during your employment.

Many employees who experience FMLA or CFRA-related employment issues sustain damages. For example, they may lose their jobs, which leads to lost income, lost benefits, and financial strain from the inability to manage everyday expenses and household bills. Additionally, denial of legally owed FMLA or CFRA rights and necessary medical leave is incredibly stressful and often traumatic for the employee. Our Los Angeles FMLA or CFRA dispute attorneys can help you recover any economic damages caused by your employer’s unlawful actions.

Clark Employment Law, APC, is a team of experienced and dedicated attorneys who can provide the legal representation you need to seek justice against your employer who denied your family medical leave right or retaliated against you for taking the protected leaves. We understand that your current medical situation was likely made much worse by your employer’s refusal to grant your FMLA request or their unlawful retaliation against you. The combination of stress from a family medical issue and employment disputes can be extremely challenging to face without an experienced Los Angeles FMLA dispute attorney on your side. If you would like to learn more about how our firm can assist you, or if you want to schedule a free consultation with our team, contact Clark Employment Law, APC today at (818) 741-2101.

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