As an employee, it is in your interests to know your rights in case you find yourself in a position where you need to exercise them. Many employees have the right to leave in the event they need time away from their jobs due to a family or medical need, yet employers may act inappropriately or even in a discriminatory manner to those who take this leave. The Family Medical Leave Act grants specific employees the ability to take care of themselves or their family while retaining employment.
You should not have to choose between the needs of your family and your job. The FMLA grants many employees the ability to take time off for important needs and events, such as the birth of a child or to care for a sick loved one. If your Washington, D.C. metro area employer attempted to keep you from taking FMLA leave or retaliated against you from taking your rightful time off, it may be appropriate to take legal action against your employer.
Your FMLA rights
If you qualify for FMLA leave, you may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year without fear of losing your job. While out on FMLA leave, your employer cannot take away your medical benefits. The intent of the FMLA is to provide men and women equal opportunities, as well as protect the interests of employers. Valid reasons to take FMLA leave include:
- The birth of a new baby
- The adoption of a new child into the employee’s family
- Placement of a new foster child into the employee’s home
- The care and support of an ill immediate family member
- Serious illness that prevents the employee from working
Each employee will benefit from knowing if he or she is eligible for FMLA leave in case it is necessary at some point in the future. You will also benefit from understanding your employer’s process for requesting time off.
The actions of your employer
If you lose your job, experience retaliation or are unable to take your rightful FMLA leave because of your employer, this could be a violation of your rights. You could have grounds to pursue a lawsuit against the liable party, seeking compensation for lost wages and other damages. You do not have to navigate the complications of dealing with a violation of employment rights in silence.