Oakland Family and Medical Leave Violations Lawyers

Protecting the rights of employees who are fired or treated unfairly for taking medical leave.

Every person has the right to take care of themselves and their loved ones. As an employee, there are many situations in which you may need time off work, whether it is to undergo surgery after an accident, care for a family member with a serious health condition or to bond with a newborn child. Under California and federal laws, most employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid family or medical leave without risking job security. Employers are not allowed to wrongfully terminate, retaliate against or otherwise violate the rights of an employee who requests leave for an approved reason.

Over 13 Million American Workers Take Family or Medical Leave Each Year

Tens of millions of employees need medical leave at different times during the year to manage chronic health conditions. Around 55 percent of employees take time off work for their own illness or injury, 21 percent for pregnancy or a new child and 18 percent for an ill family member.

Our Oakland employment lawyers have years of experience representing employees with family and medical leave issues. If you have been wronged, Erlich Law Firm will help you get the compensation you deserve and make sure your employer stops their illegal practices.

Medical Leave Laws for California Employees

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) allow eligible employees to take a maximum 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year without the fear of losing their employment. Both laws protect employees who require time off work for pregnancy or childbirth-related matters, to address their own serious health conditions or to care for a sick family member. Employees can use the 12-week leave for the following approved reasons:

  • A New Child: This includes prenatal care, childbirth and bonding time with a newborn. The 12 weeks can supplement available pregnancy leave. Adoption or foster care placement of a new child with an employee also qualifies for leave.
  • Serious Health Condition: A serious injury, illness or chronic health condition that makes the employee unable to perform essential job duties. Prolonged care under doctor supervision, overnight hospital stays, and multiple intensive treatments such as chemotherapy are covered. A cold, flu, headache, upset stomach and other ordinary illnesses do not count as serious medical conditions.
  • Care of Family Member: Caring for a spouse, child or parent who has a serious injury, illness or health condition. Other relatives like grandparents or in-laws do not qualify under FMLA. Employees can also request leave for the treatment or recovery of a family member injured during military deployment.
  • Am I Eligible for Medical Leave?

    Employees can qualify for job-protected medical leave if they meet certain minimum requirements, including:

    • Working for a company that has 50 or more employees within 75 miles of their workplace. All public agency employers are required to provide family medical leave regardless of the number of employees they have.
    • Working for their current employer for more than a year.
    • Working at least 1,250 hours in the year before the leave begins. Sick leave or paid vacation are not factored into those hours.

    Talk to an Employment Lawyer

    Employers are prohibited from interfering with an eligible employee’s right to take family or medical leave. FMLA and CFRA provide employees with legal protections from wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment and retaliation. You may believe that your employer is denying your request for medical leave or treating you unfairly even though you gave proper notice and met all the requirements. For instance, your employer may have stopped you from returning to work after your leave ended. In such cases, you should speak to an Oakland employment lawyer from Erlich Law Firm right away for legal advice.

    Not All Employees Are Covered by FMLA

    The FMLA provides important workplace protections, but it still excludes many workers. Only around 59 percent of employees qualify for unpaid job-protected leave if they or a family member falls ill.

    A large segment of the workforce is not covered by the law for various reasons. Some are employed at small companies, do not meet the strict work hour requirements or have not been working for their employer for long enough. Additionally, the FMLA does not reflect the caregiving needs of many families as it only applies to the care of a spouse, child or parent.

    Employees who are not eligible for medical leave may be able to ask their employer for leave in the form of a reasonable accommodation if their medical condition qualifies as a disability. Visit our disability discrimination page to learn more.

    Know Your Employee Rights Under FMLA and CFRA

  • Job Reinstatement: Employees are entitled to return to the same job or a similar position with equivalent pay, benefits, responsibilities and opportunities for advancement after their family or medical leave ends. This applies as long as the employee does not exceed the 12-week maximum. There are certain exceptions, such as when the employee would have been terminated in a layoff regardless of whether they took leave.
  • Getting Paid: The employer is not required to pay the employee during their protected family or medical leave. However, employees can apply any accrued vacation pay, sick leave or PTO to their time away from work until all those benefits are used up.
  • Health Benefits: The employer must continue the employee’s health benefits during leave. Employees who are enrolled in an employer-sponsored group health plan are entitled to continue their participation in the plan throughout the family or medical leave.
  • How to Request Leave From an Employer

    You may be wondering what to tell your employer when requesting leave. While it is a good idea to make your requests in writing with as much advance notice as possible, the law does allow for a verbal request. If you need to take leave because of an emergency, inform your employer as soon as you reasonably can. Always include an estimate of the expected duration of the leave. The law also does not require you to use ‘magic words’ to request time off for medical issues.

    Obtain documentation from your health care provider showing why you need leave. While you should tell your employer that you require leave for medical reasons, you are not required to provide specific details about your condition. Your employer may ask you to fill out some paperwork and get your health care provider to certify the need for time off.

    Do I Have to Take the 12 Weeks of Leave All at Once?

    No, the 12 weeks of leave do not have to be consecutive. Employees can either take the entire leave at one time or spread it out through the year as needed for doctor’s appointments, treatments or other medical issues and chronic health conditions. They can take shorter leaves that cumulatively add up to 12 weeks. However, the total amount of leave cannot be more than 12 weeks. If possible, the employee should try their best to schedule the leave in a way that avoids workplace disruptions.

    Call for a Free Case Evaluation

    If you have lost your job or suffered retaliation for requesting leave under the FMLA or the CFRA, contact Erlich Law Firm right away. We will help you determine whether your employer has violated your rights and advise you of your options. Contact us today for a free consultation. Call us at (510) 390-9140.

    Client testimonials
    Jason took the time to explain and guide me through the challenging process, and went the extra steps in consistently providing guidance and putting my concerns and questions high on their list.

    Jeff V., Oakland