Family and Medical Leave Act
When a person needs to take time off from work to provide care for a relative, or to deal with his or her own medical condition, they may hesitate to do so for fear of losing a job. Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employees are protected from such discrimination in certain situations. Birmingham FMLA lawyer Will Beckum at Beckum Law helps employees who have been treated unfairly pursue proper action against a retaliatory employer. If you have lost your job after exercising your FMLA rights, or if you have been discouraged from taking necessary leave, you may be entitled to damages. Mr. Beckum offers experienced and knowledgeable legal support to employees who have been wrongfully terminated or have been otherwise subjected to unlawful practices by an employer.Protections Under the Family and Medical Leave Act
The FMLA was enacted in 1993 in order to allow long-term employees of companies of a certain size to have job security if they needed to take leave. Under the FMLA, workers of certain companies can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave and be able to return to their job afterwards. The statute applies to employees who need to take time to care for their spouse, child, or other family member who is suffering from a serious medical condition.
The FMLA requires employers that have 50 or more employees working within a 75-mile radius to allow employees to take unpaid leave without risking their jobs. However, it does not apply to smaller employers, which cannot function or cover the costs if an employee needs such time. Additionally, only employees who have worked for a company for at least 12 months, and accumulated at least 1,250 hours in the last year, are eligible for FMLA protection. It can be challenging to determine whether you qualify, but an FMLA attorney in the Birmingham area can help you resolve any uncertainties.
Employees meeting the qualifications set out under the FMLA can take a 12-month period of unpaid leave for any of the following reasons:
- A mother or father of a newborn child can take one year of paternity or maternity leave.
- Parents are permitted one year of unpaid leave to care for newly adopted or fostered children.
- Employees may take leave to help care for a serious health condition of a spouse, child, or parent.
- Employees may take leave to care for their own serious health condition, if that condition renders them unable to perform key job duties.
- An individual may take up to 26 weeks of leave to assist a military personnel relative with a serious illness or injury.
The FMLA defines a serious health condition as “an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility or continuing treatment by a health care provider.” When considering taking leave under the FMLA, an employee must notify his or her company 30 days before the intended leave is to begin, if the condition is known. Employees are entitled to retain their job with the same pay and be taken. Upon the request of an employer, employees must provide medical documentation to support a leave request. Employers that retaliate against employees who take leave by terminating employment, failing to promote them when appropriate, or otherwise creating a hostile work environment should be held responsible. Employees who believe that an employer has violated their FMLA rights should contact the Department of Labor, which investigates such claims. Additionally, consulting an experienced employment attorney who can assist you in determining your legal rights and options is important to make sure that your employer is held accountable.Contact a Birmingham FMLA Attorney to Understand Your Rights
Workers have the right to care for their loved ones and themselves when necessary to deal with a serious medical condition. Attorney William Beckum helps employees assert those rights and hold employers liable when they act unlawfully. Beckum Law represents people throughout Alabama, including in Birmingham, Vestavia Hills, Bessemer, Prattville, Montgomery, Cullman, Pell City, Pelham, Sylacauga, and Tuscaloosa. If you have questions about your FMLA rights, contact our office online or at 205-588-0699 to speak with an FMLA lawyer in the Birmingham area. We also can assist you with other employment disputes, such as sexual harassment or discrimination claims.