Do you understand your rights at work when you get sick, have a child or care for a family member with a serious illness? If you do not know your protections under the law, you may want to speak with your Florida employer. It is possible that he or she has neglected to inform you of your rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
The FMLA provides you with time off, usually unpaid, to tend to your own or a family member's medical situation without fear of losing your job. Whether your family has welcomed a new child through birth or adoption, you or a family member have a serious medical condition to which you must attend, or you must take care of certain responsibilities related to the active duty of a military family member, you have rights and protections that your employer must respect. Unfortunately, this does not always happen.
Be aware of common violations of FMLA
Failing to explain your rights is one of the most common violations of FMLA rights employees experience. An employer does not have to hold a day-long conference to inform you of how the FMLA covers you. He or she simply has to provide you with a handout or hold a brief meeting to explain what you can expect if you ever have a family situation that qualifies for FMLA. In addition to failing to inform you of your rights, your employer may violate the FMLA in any of these ways:
- Demanding excessive proof of your circumstance or over-analyzing your request
- Failing to keep accurate records of time off and reflecting that time in your pay or deductions
- Retaliating against you for taking time off, such as demoting you or overlooking you for promotions for which you qualify
- Firing you while you are on leave
Of course, you can understand the reluctance an employer may have when a critical employee asks off for weeks at a time. It may require your boss to hire a temporary replacement or train someone to take over your duties. However, this inconvenience does not excuse an employer who denies you the right to tend to your family's emergency or deal with your own medical situation. If your employer fails to comply with the rules of the FMLA, you have the right to seek legal advice about your options.