Philadelphia Employment Lawyers
The Family and Medical Leave Act
- Am I covered by the FMLA?
- What is a serious health condition under the FMLA?
- Do I have to take all my FMLA leave at one time?
- Can my employer take disciplinary action against me if I use FMLA?
- Can my employer contact my doctor about my FMLA leave?
- What can I do if my employer has violated the FMLA?
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) prevents employees from having to choose between their job and their families who need them.
If you work at a work site with at least 50 full–time employees, then the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) covers you. The FMLA states if you have been an employee for at least a year and have worked at least 1250 hours in the previous 12 months, then you are entitled to 12 weeks unpaid leave and health coverage for the leave period in any 12 month period for the following reasons:
- Birth of a child or to care for such child
- The adoption of a child or the acceptance of a child for foster care
- To care for a spouse, child or parent who has a serious health condition or
- Because of your own inability to work due to a serious health condition that prevents you from performing your job.
A serious health condition is an injury, illness, impairment or physical or mental condition that would require either in–patient care or continuing treatment by a healthcare provider, along with 4 or more days absence from work or school. Continuing treatment usually means two or more instances of treatment. Where the health condition is a chronic one, such as asthma or a seizure disorder, the 4 to 5 day absence may not be required.
You do not have to take your leave in a solid 12–week block. You can take “intermittent” or reduce leave, depending on how long your disability continues. For example, you could take 2 or 3 weeks of leave at a time (“intermittently”) instead of 12 full weeks in a row. In certain circumstances you can work at a reduced schedule that will lessen the number of hours and days of week you work. Finally, your employer cannot require you take more leave than is medically necessary.
The FMLA protects you by giving you up to 12 weeks of leave in any 12–month period. During the time you are entitled to this leave, your employer cannot discipline you or terminate your employment for being off work and must continue your health benefits. While the FMLA does not require an employer to pay you during leave, if the reason for your leave is a work related injury, you should receive workers’ compensation benefits. At the conclusion of your leave, whether it is for 12 weeks or shorter, you are entitled to reinstatement of your old job or to an equivalent job. The FMLA gives you no protection beyond the 12–week period. Your employer may discharge you after the 12 weeks expire unless you have an employment or union contract which gives you additional protection.
Your employer is prohibited from having direct contact with your doctor. A health care provider representing your employer may have such contact but only with your express permission.
If your employer has violated the FMLA, our Philadelphia employment law lawyers can help you file a lawsuit. If you are successful, you will be entitled to recover statutory economic damages including, for example, back–pay and loss of benefits with interest, possible equitable relief such as reinstatement or front–pay and possible liquidated damages as well as attorney fees, expert witness fees and costs. The lawsuit under the FMLA must be brought no later than two–years after the date of the last event constituting the alleged violation for which the action is brought. However, in cases of such action brought for willful violation of the FMLA, such action may be brought within three–years of the event constituting the alleged violation for which the action is brought. Notwithstanding is this statute of limitation, you should contact us to discuss your case as soon as you believe a violation has occurred. If you believe a violation of law has occurred which affects you or if you have any other questions concerning the FMLA, please contact us immediately or call our Philadelphia employment lawyers at 1-800-222-8792.