Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), eligible employees can take extended, unpaid time off for a variety of family and health-related reasons:
- The birth of a child
- The adoption of a child
- A serious illness or disability
- To care for a loved one with a serious medical condition
FMLA allows employees job protection and peace of mind as they face important issues that affect health and family.
Employers must comply with FMLA laws. This includes allowing eligible employees to take medical leave, as well as not retaliating against employees who have taken leave.
Unfortunately, not all employers comply.
Some examples of retaliation against employees who request or take FMLA include:
- Lowering pay
- Failure to promote an employee
- Demoting an employee
- Assigning undesirable job duties to an employee
- Firing an employee
Why were you fired?
Unfortunately, some employers see employees who take medical leave as a liability. And sometimes, these employees are fired for a seemingly unrelated issue.
An employer may give one reason for firing an employee – showing up late for work, checking text messages while working, etc. – but the real reason may be discriminatory or retaliatory in nature.
When this happens after taking medical leave, employees should be aware of their legal rights and options.
Options for employees
Remember: Retaliation against employees for taking FMLA is illegal.
It is important to take any potential sign of retaliation seriously. If you believe you have been retaliated against, it is advisable to speak to an employment law attorney to determine if retaliation has occurred. If so, an attorney can help the employee take appropriate legal action.