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Family and Medical Leave

Treating employees less favorably because they are a man, woman, or a member of the LGBT community is not only wrong, it’s illegal. Yet, this discrimination continues to pervade many workplaces, robbing people of the right to advance as far in their employment as their talents and abilities can take them, regardless of gender.

From time to time, everyone experiences a “life happens” moment—when either they or a family member gets injured or seriously ill and cannot work, when a baby is born or adopted into their family, or when family member in the military deploys or is injured while serving. In these circumstances, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guarantees protected leave from work for eligible employees. However, too many employers do not honor their obligations under the FMLA. If you or a family member experience a need for leave under the FMLA, you can count on experienced Atlanta employment discrimination attorneys at Hall & Lampros, LLP to help you navigate the situation and recover compensation for you if your rights are violated.

The FMLA passed in 1993 and requires certain covered employers to provide eligible employees with up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave every year for specific qualifying reasons. The leave may be continuous—all at once—or it may be “intermittent” over the course of the year. The FMLA also requires covered employers to restore those employees who take leave to their same job or an equivalent position after their leave has ended. There are no “magic words” necessary to invoke an employee’s entitlement to FMLA, but there are rules and regulations which determine if and when leave will be allowed.

Hall & Lampros employment discrimination attorneys have successfully handled many cases for violation of FMLA rights, including one in which an employee who was denied FMLA to get mental health treatment was awarded a judgment of over $622,000 after winning at trial. If you believe your FMLA rights have been violated at work, you should consult with experienced employment discrimination attorneys at Hall & Lampros, LLP. You can call or text 404-876-8100 or submit a confidential inquiry and an attorney will contact you right away.

FMLA Coverage

Only certain employers are covered by the FMLA. In order to be covered, your employer must be a public agency, or if it is a private employer, it must have had at least 50 employees for at least 20 weeks in the current or previous year. In some cases, more than business might be “joint employers” and the employees of both can be counted to meet the requirements.

If your employer is covered, then you are entitled to FMLA leave if you are an eligible employee. You are an eligible employee under the FMLA if you meet the following requirements:

  • You have worked for your current employer for at least one year;
  • You worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous year, which amounts to an average of 25 hours per week (with two weeks off for vacation); and
  • You work at a jobsite that has at least 50 employees (within a radius of 75 miles).
Contact Hall & Lampros, LLP now at 404-876-8100 to schedule a complimentary consultation with our firm.

Approved Reasons for an FMLA Leave

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

  • You are recovering from a serious illness, injury, or health concern;
  • You are the primary caregiver for someone with a serious illness, injury, or health concern;
  • You need time to bond with a new baby or child in your family; 
  • You are the primary caregiver for a family member who was seriously injured during active military duty; or
  • You are handling qualifying exigencies that have arisen out of the military service of a family member.

The Length of Your Leave

If you are eligible for FMLA leave, you may take up to 12 weeks of leave in a one-year period for any of the following:

  • For a serious illness, injury, or health concern
  • For bonding with a new child
  • For handling the qualifying exigencies that arise out of a family member’s military service

If you continue meeting the eligibility requirements, your FMLA leave availability will renew every 12 months. Your employer may count the 12 months using one of four different methods, including the calendar year, a fixed 12 month period, a 12 month period measured forward from when you first take FMLA leave, or a “rolling” 12 month period measured back in time from the date you use any FMLA leave. Leave related to military caregivers is more expansive, but it is a one-time event that is predicated on entitlement per service member and per injury. 

Your Rights Related to Leave and Reinstatement

You maintain the following rights when you are on FMLA leave:

  • FMLA is unpaid, but you may be allowed or required to use any accrued paid leave you have during your FMLA leave.  
  • You are entitled to continue your employee-based health insurance coverage, at the same cost to you, while you are on FMLA leave.
  • When your FMLA leave comes to end, you are entitled to be reinstated to the same position that you left, or an equivalent position, with a few exceptions. 

Sick Leave for Caregivers in the State of Georgia

The State of Georgia does not have a state version of the federal FMLA, but sick leave for caregivers can fill a similar role in specific situations. While employers are not required to provide sick leave under the state law, there are some requirements in place for those employers who do provide sick leave. If your employer has at least 25 employees and provides sick leave – and you work at least 30 hours per week – the company must allow you to use up to five days of your earned sick leave each year to provide care for a sick family. 

Reach Out to an Experienced Atlanta Employment Law Attorney

If you qualify for FMLA leave but your employer denies it, harasses you for taking it or attempts to interfere with it, or refuses to restore you to your job after your leave, it is a violation of your legal rights that can have profound consequences in your life. Being able to attend the challenges that life brings is critical, which makes fighting for the FMLA leave to which you are entitled paramount. The dedicated employment discrimination attorneys at Hall & Lampros recognize the gravity of your situation and are prepared to skillfully advocate for you and recover your lost wages and damages from a violation of your rights. To learn more about what we can do to help you, please do not put off contacting or calling us at 404-876-8100 today.