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Family Medical Leave Act & Leaves of Absence

Jacksonville Employment Law Attorney Explains FMLA

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees of covered employers with up to 12 workweeks of leave within a 12-month period.

An employee may be eligible for leave under the FMLA for the following reasons:

  • Employee's health condition causes inability to perform essential functions of job
  • Serious health condition of a spouse, son, daughter, or parent
  • Birth of a child or to care for a child
  • Placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care

The FMLA also provides leave for family to care for injured military service members for up to 26 workweeks.

As an alternative to a continuous 12-week leave of absence, the FMLA also provides for intermittent leave when an eligible employee may be able to use their leave in periodic increments. The FMLA, however, provides for strict notice requirements, both on the part of the employer and employee. It is, therefore, important for employees to be aware of their legal rights and obligations when faced with the need to take a medical leave of absence.

Employers may also require medical certification to be provided by the employee, and employees should understand how their specific medical conditions relate to other legal rights before making decisions that could affect their careers. Medical certification requirements do not mean that the employer may discriminate or interfere with an employee's legitimate right to FMLA leave.

Once an employee provides adequate medical certification, the employer must provide the employee with FMLA leave and allow the employee to return to his or her regular position, or its equivalent, upon obtaining medical clearance from a healthcare provider.

Laws Against Retaliation

Like other laws protecting against discrimination, the FMLA also prohibits retaliation. Accordingly, an employer should not retaliate against an employee for requesting FMLA leave. Upon returning from leave, attempting to take leave, or lodging a complaint pertaining to leave, workers are protected from retaliation as well.

Some of the most common forms of retaliation include:

  • Termination
  • Demotion
  • Transfer to non-equivalent position
  • Reduction in pay

Another consideration that the firm's attorney can review with you is whether a medical condition should be designated as disability rather than a medical condition requiring FMLA leave.

Jacksonville Employment Attorney Can Protect Your Rights

Many issues regarding leaves of absence require thorough analysis of the job position, medical condition, and legal rights to determine the best course of action. As the employee seeks to protect his or her career while following the healthcare provider's medical treatment recommendations, the Jacksonville employment lawyer from the firm can protect the employee's rights. Employees dealing with serious medical conditions should seek advice regarding all of their legal rights, including how, when, and under what circumstances FMLA leave may be taken.

Additional forms of leave required under law include leave for military service personnel. The Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Act (USERRA) generally requires employers to reemploy veterans after an intervening term of military service as long as certain factors are met. Other protected leaves include leave taken for jury service or medical care. The employer's short-term and long-term disability plans may also provide employees with protection from discrimination.

To speak with a Jacksonville employment lawyer regarding your FMLA, medical leave, or other leave of absence rights, contact the Law Office of Shands M. Wulbern, P.A.