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Understanding the Family Medical Leave Act

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The Law Offices of Morgan Rooks PC understands how important it is for employees in Camden County and the surrounding areas, including Philadelphia, PA, to know their FMLA rights. For instance, there have been cases of employers abusing or being negligent of the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). 

FMLA provides that an eligible employee is entitled to take 12 weeks of leave during any 12 months for, among other reasons, “a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the position of such employee.” It is illegal for any employer to discharge or discriminate against any individual exercising the rights that are given to them under the Act.  FMLA violations include interference claims and retaliation claims. 

Interference Claims

The FMLA’s “interference” provisions make it unlawful for an employer to interfere with,  restrain, or deny the exercise of, or the attempt to exercise, any right provided to an employee by the FMLA. To establish an FMLA interference claim, “the employee only needs to show that [s]he was entitled to benefits under the FMLA and that [s]he was denied them.” An interference action is not about discrimination; it is only about whether the employer provided the employee with the entitlements guaranteed by the FMLA. To prevail on the claim, the employee must prove five elements: 

(1) that the employee was an eligible employee under the FMLA; (2) that the employer subject to the FMLA’s requirements; (3) that the employee was entitled to FMLA leave; (4) that the employee gave notice to the employer of his/her intention to take FMLA leave; and (5) that the employee was denied benefits to which he/she was entitled under the FMLA.

Retaliation Claims

Retaliation under the FMLA is when an employer punishes an employee for taking FMLA leave. 

To prevail on a retaliation claim under the FMLA, an employee must prove that (1) he/she invoked her right to FMLA-qualifying leave, (2) he/she suffered an adverse employment decision, and (3) the adverse action was causally related to his/her invocation of rights.

Employer Violation

When an employee requests leave under the Act, or when the employer finds out that an employee’s leave may be for an FMLA-qualifying reason, the employer must notify the employee that they are eligible to take leave within five business days. An interference claim may also be established by demonstrating that an employer failed to provide adequate notice of their employee’s rights.

If an employer violates the FMLA, they are liable to the employee for damages, including wages, employment benefits, and any other lost compensation. Also, the court will award the employee reasonable attorney’s fees and expert witness fees, along with other costs of the action to be paid by the defendant.

Let The Law Offices of Morgan Rooks PC Help

If you need to take legal action regarding your employer’s violation your rights under FMLA in Camden County or surrounding areas, including Philadelphia, contact The Law Offices of Morgan Rooks PC today.