FMLA Discrimination And Retaliation in Ohio
When it works as intended, the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, provides workers much-needed time off to attend to their own health or the well-being of their loved ones without having to worry about keeping their jobs. Too often, though, employers illegally discriminate against employees who request FMLA leave or retaliate against workers who exercise their rights to take FMLA leave.
Enforcing your FMLA leave rights requires understanding how the law works and what employers can and cannot do. When your FMLA rights are violated, you have legal options for holding your employer accountable.
Who Can Take FMLA Leave
An individual who works for a company or agency that employees 50 or more people becomes eligible to request FMLA once they have held their job for 12 months or after they have worked for at least 1,250 hours. Once they become eligible, an employee can take up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave per year to care for themselves or a family member, due to a serious medical condition. An update to the law also makes up to 26 weeks of unpaid annual leave available to people who must take care of family members who suffered serious injuries or became seriously ill while serving in the military. Am I Eligible for FMLA Leave in Ohio?
Reasons Employees Can Take FMLA Leave
According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), eligible employees can request FMLA leave for any of the following:
- For the birth and care of the newborn child;
- For placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care;
- To care for an immediate family member (i.e., spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or
- To take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.
As noted above, unpaid leave can also be requested to care for a family member who is suffering from a military service-related injury or illness.
How Can Employees Take FMLA Leave?
Certain rules apply to requesting and taking FMLA leave.
First, an employee can request FMLA leave on a continuous or intermittent basis. Continuous leave is usually for a period of days or weeks. Intermittent leave is used on a more short-term basis and can be broken down into days or hours. For example, an employee can use intermittent FMLA leave and take 3-4 hours off in a workday to attend a doctor’s appointment or because of a flare-up in symptoms. FMLA leave can help an employee who experiences sudden flare-ups of a condition and must call off work, go home early or not report to work at all because of those symptoms.
An employee can take FMLA leave even if they have not used up all of their paid time off. Your employer can make you use your PTO/sick leave concurrently with your FMLA leave, meaning you are exhausting both at the same time. Employers can also choose to, but are not required to, allow you to use FMLA and PTO/sick leave independently of one another.
Lastly, an employee must notify their employer as early as is practical that they intend to or need to take FMLA leave.
Reasons an Employer Can Legally Deny FMLA Leave Requests
FMLA rules assume that employers will grant requests for unpaid leave to eligible employees. However, an FMLA leave request can be denied when:
- The company or agency employs fewer than 50 people at locations within a 75-mile radius of the requesting employee’s usual worksite;
- The requesting employee has not been on the job for 12 months or has not yet worked a total of 1,250 hours;
- The reason for requesting FMLA leave is not one of those listed above; or
- The requesting employee cannot provide evidence, such as a note from a doctor or a FMLA certification filled out by a doctor, that FMLA leave is required for a serious medical condition.
Examples of FMLA Discrimination and Retaliation in Ohio
Once an employee requests or takes FMLA leave, their employer cannot take actions that appear to punish the person for doing so. Retaliation for exercising FMLA rights can take many forms, including
- Bullying and harassment based on FMLA leave;
- Penalizing employee for attendance related to FMLA leave;
- Reassignment to a job with lower pay upon return from FMLA leave;
- Reductions in pay and benefits upon return from FMLA leave; and
- Termination because of usage of FMLA leave.
Options for Victims of FMLA Discrimination and Retaliation
Interfering with an employee’s exercise of FMLA rights is a violation of federal law. The employee who was discriminated or retaliated against can report the violation to the DOL and partner with an employee rights attorney to file a lawsuit. The lawsuit can seek back and front pay with interest, other compensatory damages, and attorney fees, should the employee win at trial.
Employee rights attorneys with The Friedmann Firm welcome questions about FMLA leave. We provide free and confidential consultations to workers, so let us know if we can be of service. Request an appointment online or call us at 614.610.9755.
Rachel and Dominick were incredibly helpful throughout the entire process. They got back to me quickly, whenever I had questions, which helped me stay calm during a very stressful time. Rachel was confident in her abilities and knowledge of the labor laws, and she was able to secure a settlement for me. If you ever find yourself in a situation that requires you take action against an employer, I would highly recommend the Friedman Firm. There's no one I would recommend more to be in your corner.
If you are in need of an employment attorney, this is your sign to talk to Rachel and Jamie. Amazing!! They handled my case like the true professionals they are! They stuck to a strategy, even when it seemed like it wasn’t going our way and BAM! We get the outcome we wanted. I couldn’t be happier and I will always return to them if I EVER have an employment issue again. Thank you so much for helping me and my family!
Dedicated! Thorough! Detailed! Professional! Personable! I can keep going with the many qualities Pete and his team have. I highly recommend him!!! You won't be disappointed.
I needed an employment lawyer to work through a non compete. Pete at The Friedmann Firm was listed as one of the three best rated employment lawyers on a local website. I called him in the morning and later that night he was on the case and provided sound council through a very tense negotiation. Don’t take a chance with your career, reach out and get good council. Pete was very responsive every step of the way and delivered positive results. I highly recommend Pete and his Firm!
Rachel was top-notch from start to finish. She was responsible, professional, quick to respond to emails, texts or phone calls. She gives it to you straight, which I prefer! She thinks outside the box and is definitely the dog you want in the fight for you. She does not waste time and immediately dives right in to get the best results she can for you. I would highly recommend Rachel and her firm to anyone who wants to get the job done right, the first time, in a professional, compassionate and decisive manner.
My wife used this firm for a matter she had with her former employer. She could not have been more satisfied with their services. They were timely in responses, courteous, and very thoughtful. This was a difficult process for her and Pete made it so much easier by handling all of the details of her case.
Rachel Sabo of The Friedmann Firm believed in me when no one else did & helped me through every step of my legal process. Very happy with the firm’s professionalism & dedication to my case.
I called them with some questions about my employment and Jamie was very helpful. I didn’t need an attorney to handle a case for me - only to help me navigate an issue I was having at work. She answered my questions and I felt she truly listened to me. I’d recommend this firm to anyone looking for an employment lawyer. Thank you!
Pete resolved issues I was having with my employer in a quick and favorable manner. He is also easy to talk to and understands his clients rights AND needs. You’d do right to call The Friedmann Firm.
I had a terrific experience with Rachel. She handled my case in a very professional manner. She made herself available and always kept me updated. Her knowledge of the law is incredible. She took the time to educate me on the legal processes so I understood what was happening with my case. Thank you Rachel for helping me navigate a most difficult situation. I am so thankful to have had you as my attorney. You have my highest recommendation.