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Kaiser Sued For Violating FMLA Leave Protections

A nurse formerly employed by Kaiser Permanente Medical Group is suing the California system for discrimination and retaliation for taking protected medical leave. Kirandeep Kaur had taken approved time off to help her mother recover from hip replacement surgery -leave that is protected under both the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).

During her leave, Kaur asserts in her employment lawsuit that she was harassed by the hospital supervisor for taking time off, for taking too much time off and demanding that she return to work. When Kaur returned to work, the harassment did not stop. She came back to work at Kaiser in September, following her absence for one month on approved leave, and was fired in December. In that short time, she was also suspended for an internal investigation.

The FMLA guarantees up to 12-weeks of job-protected leave for those who qualify. In order to qualify for FMLA protection, you must have:

  • Worked for your current employer for at least 12 months
  • Worked a total of 1250 hours over the last 12 months
  • Worked at a location that has 50 or more employees

FMLA leave may be granted for any of the following reasons:

  • To care for a newborn child
  • To care for a newly-adopted child
  • To care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition
  • To care for oneself while dealing with a serious medical condition

An employer is not required to pay an employee who is on FMLA leave under the federal law. There may be California-specific benefits that provide wage replacement during this time however. An employee who has taken FMLA leave is entitled to maintain his or her health insurance coverage under an employer's group plan during the approved medical leave.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Took Care of Mom, Fired From Kaiser, Nurse Says," April 2, 2013

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