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  • Philadelphia Employment Lawyers

    The Family and Medical Leave Act

    The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) acts to prevent employees from having to choose between their job and their families who need them. The FMLA has certain eligibility requirements and for individuals who are eligible, the Act can provide support throughout difficult times.

    If you believe that you or a loved one may be eligible for The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), here are some questions that you may have:

    If you work at a work site with at least 50 full–time employees, then the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) will cover you. The FMLA states if you have been an employee for at least one year and have worked a minimum of 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 from 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 stops you from performing your job.

    A serious health condition is an injury, illness, impairment or physical or mental condition requiring either in–patient care or continuing treatment by a healthcare provider, along with 4 or more days absence from work or school. Continuing treatment typically means two or more instances of such treatment. When the health condition is a chronic one, such as asthma or a seizure disorder, the 4 to 5 day absence may not be required.

    Under the FMLA, you are not required to take your leave in a solid 12–week block. You can take “intermittent” or reduced 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. Under certain circumstances you can work a reduced schedule that will lessen the number of hours and days per week that you work. Finally, your employer cannot require you to 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 extending beyond the 12–week period. Your employer may discharge you after the 12 weeks expire unless you have an employment or union contract that provides you with additional protection.

    If your employer has violated the FMLA, our Philadelphia employment law attorneys 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.

    Many companies have policies regarding any discrimination, harassment or retaliation that occurs in their company handbook. Likewise, they may have reporting requirements, which may mandate you to follow a certain procedure. You should request that the company take action to correct and stop any discrimination, harassment or retaliation that is occurring. You should follow the procedures and document your actions in writing. Failure to follow the procedures may lead to a denial of your rights to recover legal damages for the improper action of the company.

    You have to act promptly.

    There is a limited time in which you can bring a claim for discrimination, harassment or retaliation. You must file your claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) under Title VII of the Civil Rights within 180 days of the last act of discrimination. The same holds true for filing a state claim with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC). However, if you file a claim with the PHRC within 180 days of the last act of discrimination or harassment, you can file a claim with the EEOC within 300 days of the last act of discrimination or harassment.

    Contact the Experienced Philadelphia Discrimination Attorneys at Galfand Berger

    If you or a loved one believes that you have a claim for discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, we are happy to answer your questions and have one of our Philadelphia employment lawyers review your case for free. Please call us at 1-800-222-USWA (8792) or complete our short contact form and a member of our firm will contact you.

    With offices in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster and Reading, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. And, remember, there is no fee unless we recover for you.