When you go to work, you have the right to do your job in an environment that is free from harassment and other types of mistreatment. Unfortunately, harassment and discrimination still happen for many reasons, including the exercise of your employee rights. It is possible you could face mistreatment from your employer over the issue of using your rightful leave and support through the federal Family and Medical Leave Act and its state and D.C. equivalents. This could include failing to keep your job open upon your return to work or taking away job responsibilities.
If you are facing discrimination or harassment over taking your rightful FMLA leave, you do not have to remain silent. You could have grounds to take certain steps that will allow you to hold your Washington, D.C., employer accountable and seek an appropriate recovery. You may benefit from understanding what actions count as harassment and how you can protect your rights.
Protecting your right to leave
The Family and Medical Leave Act gives many employees the right to take time off in certain circumstances, such as when they have a baby or have a family member who has serious medical needs. You have a right to request time off without fear of harassment or termination for reasons related to the birth of a child, adoption of a child, taking in a foster child, caring for a loved one with a medical need and more. However, despite the protections given to you through the FMLA, some employers may not respect your right to take leave.
Retaliation for taking FMLA leave can happen when an employer tries to take actions against an employee before, during or after the time off. Retaliation can be blatant, such a demotion or threats of termination. Other, more subtle ways may include leaving you with an unreasonable amount of work upon your return. You could also experience FMLA-related harassment from your co-workers in the form of aggressive behaviors, discriminatory remarks and more.
Protecting your interests
If you are the victim of harassment for taking medical or pregnancy leave, or you are facing discrimination after your return to work, there are legal options available to you. You may be able to seek appropriate remedies , but you will first benefit from an explanation of your legal options. This can help you understand what legal steps you can take to protect your interests and seek justice after experiencing workplace harassment or discrimination.