Understanding Protected Leave in CA
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that provides employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave each year for certain medical and family reasons. This leave can be taken by an employee in the event of their own illness or injury, or if they need to care for a spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition. The FMLA also protects employees from wrongful termination due to taking such leave. In California, employers must adhere strictly to the provisions outlined in this law (as well as the CFRA) as it applies to California workers' rights.
The FMLA and the CFRA provide employees with job protection while they are receiving disability benefits or paid family leave.
These rights are designed not only to provide financial security during times when an employee requires additional support but also to ensure that they will be able to return back into their work environment without fear of retribution from their employer. However, despite these protections, many people are wrongfully terminated every year.
Keep reading to learn more about FMLA protections in California and what to do if you believe your employer violated the FMLA.
When Can an Employer Terminate Someone on FMLA Leave?
We are frequently asked if there are any situations in which an employer can terminate someone on FMLA leave. The answer is yes; you can be terminated while on FMLA. However, the employer cannot terminate someone for taking leave, nor can they terminate them because of a disability, medical condition, or due to family status or other discriminatory reasons. They also cannot use the time an employee has taken off under the FMLA as a factor when making decisions about promotions or salary increases.
There are specific circumstances under which the employer can lawfully terminate an employee on leave, but the reason must be separate from the employee's leave of absence. For example, employers can terminate an employee on FMLA if their position no longer exists due to layoffs or because the employee's job site has been closed. An employer also has the right to fire an employee for job performance issues before the employee's leave.
Should You Call an Attorney?
If you live and work in California and believe your employer has violated the FMLA or wrongfully terminated you because you took FMLA leave, it is important to call an attorney. Although employers can terminate employees on leave under certain circumstances, your decision to take family leave is not one of them. An experienced attorney can review the details of your case and help determine if legal action should be taken against your employer for violating California labor laws.
What About Issues of Retaliation & Discrimination Post-Leave?
California employers are not allowed to retaliate against employees who take FMLA leave, including discriminatory action or workplace behavior. When it comes to disciplinary actions, employers must be able to prove that the action taken against the employee was related to their poor job performance and not due to their taking of FMLA leave. If it is found that California employers do violate this provision in any way, they could face serious consequences, including fines and other legal ramifications.
If you believe that your employer has violated California labor laws or retaliated against you after taking protected leave, it is important to call an attorney who can help protect your rights. At Polaris Law Group, we have extensive experience helping employees who were wrongfully terminated or faced workplace discrimination after taking FMLA leave; contact us today if you need legal advice on this matter.