Family and Medical Leave Act Lawyers
It’s unlawful for your employer to deny an eligible FMLA leave request. It’s also unlawful for an employer to interfere with your leave request or retaliate against you for taking leave. Your employer may not terminate you for taking leave, nor while on FMLA leave.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for certain qualified medical and family reasons. In addition to this federal protection, some states and jurisdictions have additional family leave laws that benefit employees.
Potomac Legal Group has experience in pursuing claims against employers for violations of FMLA leave. You should contact the Firm if your employer is denying you FMLA leave, or if you have been retaliated against or terminated for taking leave.
We secured a $2.8 million Arbitration Award for FMLA Discrimination
FMLA Employee Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible for FMLA leave, an employee must meet the following criteria:
- Work for a Covered Employer: Employers with 50 or more employees within 75 miles are covered by the FMLA.
- Have Worked for the Employer for at Least 12 Months: The 12 months do not have to be consecutive, but the employee must have worked for the employer for at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of the leave.
- Seven Year Look Back: Only employment within seven years is counted unless the break in service is due to an employee’s fulfillment of military obligations or governed by a collective bargaining agreement or other written agreement.
- Meet Family or Medical Leave Requirements: The leave must be taken for the birth or adoption of a child, the care of a spouse, child, or the care of a parent with a serious health condition, or the employee’s own serious health condition.
- Medical Provider Certification: Establishing medical leave requirements may necessitate requesting medical provider letters.
How Long is FMLA Leave?
FMLA allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for certain medical and family reasons, including the birth or adoption of a child, the care of a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition, and the employee’s own serious health condition. The leave can be taken all at once or in increments. The 12 weeks of leave is calculated on a rolling 12-month basis, regardless of calendar year.
Pursuing Claims Against an Employer for FMLA Violations
You may be able to pursue claims against your employer for violating an FMLA request. There are damages, penalties and back pay awards that may be available to you in certain circumstances.
The time frame for filing a lawsuit against an employer for denying or retaliating against you depends on the specific circumstances of the case.
It is important not to wait. An attorney will help you determine the amount of time you have for pursuing a claim. The time you have for bring a claim a statute of limitations, which means that if an employee does not file a lawsuit within that time frame, they may lose their right to pursue their claim.
FMLA claims may be filed in court or in private arbitration, and Potomac Legal Group has significant experience in pursuing these claims.
Retaliation by an employer against an employee for taking FMLA is unlawful. If an employer retaliates against an employee for taking or requesting FMLA leave, the employee may be able to take legal action against the employer.
Retaliation can take many forms, including:
- Terminating or demoting an employee.
- Reducing pay or benefits.
- Changing job duties or responsibilities.
- Harassment or discrimination.
- Denying promotions or opportunities for advancement.
- Giving poor performance evaluations or disciplinary actions.
You may be able to pursue claims against your employer for interfering with your rights under the FMLA. The FMLA prohibits employer interference with, restraining, or denying the existence or attempt to exercise, any right that employees have under the FMLA.
Examples of this prohibited conduct include:
- Refusing to authorize FMLA leave for an eligible employee,
- Discouraging an employee from using FMLA leave,
- Manipulating an employee’s work hours to avoid responsibilities under FMLA,
- Using an employee’s request for or use of FMLA leave as a negative factor in employment actions, such as hiring, promotions, or disciplinary actions, or,
- Counting FMLA leave under “no fault” attendance policies.
Employers have used a myriad of tactics to interfere with FMLA leave. If you are entitled to FMLA leave, and your employer took an adverse action against you that interfered with your ability to take leave, then you may have a claim against your employer under the FMLA.
Virginia Parental Leave Act & Virginia Sickness and Disability Program
The Family and Medical Leave Act is a federal law that applies to eligible employees of covered employers. However, the state of Virginia also has its own laws regarding family and medical leave.
The Virginia Parental Leave Act (VPLA) allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for a child with a serious health condition. The leave can be taken all at once or in increments.
The Virginia Sickness and Disability Program (VSDP) is a state-run program that provides temporary disability benefits for eligible employees who are unable to work due to a non-work-related injury or illness.
If an employee is eligible for both FMLA and VPLA or VSDP, the leave taken will run concurrently and the employee will only be able to take a total of 12 weeks of leave. Employers are required to follow both federal and state laws and to provide the appropriate paperwork and notice to employees.
Maryland Healthy Working Families Act
Maryland’s Healthy Working Families Act (HWFA) passed in 2018, provides most Maryland employees with earned sick and safe leave.
It allows employees to accrue up to 40 hours of paid leave per year and use it for illness, personal illness, family member illness, and for safety reasons. The earned sick and safe leave provided by the HWFA is in addition to the unpaid leave provided by the federal FMLA, and not a replacement for it.
Maryland Flexible Leave Act
The Maryland Flexible Leave Act (MFLEA) is a state law in Maryland that provides eligible employees with job-protected leave for specified reasons, including:
- The birth or adoption of a child.
- The care of an immediate family member with a serious health condition.
- An employee’s own serious health condition.
The MFLEA provides eligible employees with up to 7 workweeks of leave in a 12 month period for the birth or adoption of a child, and up to 6 workweeks of leave in a 12 month period for an employee’s own serious health condition or the care of an immediate family member with a serious health condition.
Under the MFLEA, employees are entitled to return to their same or equivalent job and continue their health insurance benefits during the leave period. Employers are not required to pay employees during the leave, but employees may use any accrued paid leave (such as sick leave or vacation leave) during the leave period.
Maryland Time to Care Act
The Maryland Time to Care Act established the Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) Fund that will offer up to 12 weeks of paid leave to covered individuals.
Eligible employees will receive the benefits directly from the state of Maryland after application approval. Employers will be notified when their employees apply, and the funding for the benefits will be derived from payroll deductions.
The law was enacted in 2022, and the benefits will be available starting in 2025.
District of Columbia Family and Medical Leave Act
The District of Columbia has its own laws that provide additional rights for family and medical leave beyond the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.
The District of Columbia Family and Medical Leave Act (DCFMLA) applies to all employers in the District of Columbia, regardless of whether the employer is covered by the federal FMLA. The DCFMLA allows eligible employees to take up to 16 weeks of unpaid family leave and 16 weeks of unpaid medical leave during a 24 month period. The leave can be taken all at once or in increments, or on a reduced schedule.
The Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Amendment Act of 2013 also requires employers to provide employees with paid leave for certain reasons, such as an employee’s own or a family member’s illness, medical treatment, or preventive care. Employers are required to provide one hour of paid leave for every 37 hours worked, up to a maximum of 7 days per year.
FMLA Legal Consultation
Contact Potomac Legal Group to schedule a consultation about your FMLA matter. You have a limited amount of time to enforce your rights. If you suspect that your employer has discriminated or retaliated against you, contact the Firm to review your options.