The Family and Medical Leave Act, also known as FMLA, provides eligible employees of covered employers with the ability to take unpaid, job protected leave for specified medical reasons.
Even if you qualify for FMLA, it’s not out of the question that you may run into some resistance from your employer. For example, your company may decide to demote you during your time away. If this happens, you’ll want to learn more about your legal rights.
FMLA regulations prohibit the following:
- An employer cannot take any action that interferes with FMLA rights.
- An employer cannot retaliate against an employee for using or attempting to use his or her FMLA rights.
- An employer is prohibited from terminating employment in the event that a person requests or uses his or her FMLA benefits.
In addition to the above, here are some examples of prohibited behaviors:
- Refusing to authorize FMLA leave for an employee who qualifies
- Discouraging a worker to use his or her FMLA benefits
- Manipulating a person’s employment status or hours in an attempt to disqualify him or her from FMLA
- Using a request for FMLA when making employment decisions, such as whether or not to promote a person
Even if you have a good relationship with your employer you should never assume that he or she will do what’s in your best interest in regard to FMLA. You can hope that this happens, but you need to understand your rights and keep a close watch on everything as the process unfolds.
Once you realize that you need to take FMLA leave, you should read your employee handbook for a better idea of how to move forward. This should give you a clear idea on the process your company wants you to follow.
From there, if anything goes wrong, you should begin to take notes to document what’s happening.
If your employer partakes in any type of prohibited behavior regarding your FMLA leave, you should also learn more about your legal rights. It’s safe to say you don’t want to take action, but you need to do what’s best for you and your career.