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Violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act

| Jun 29, 2021 | Employment Law

As an employee of an employer covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you may be entitled to take up to 12 workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for reasons relating to health and family. However, employers may knowingly or unknowingly violate the provisions of the FMLA, causing financial and emotional harm to their employees. Here are some of the most common FMLA violations.

Denial of a legitimate FMLA request

When an eligible employee has a qualifying reason for taking FMLA, an employer is legally obligated to grant them FMLA leave. Some qualifying reasons for taking FMLA leave include:

  • Birth, adoption, or fostering of a child
  • Serious health condition
  • To take care of an immediate family member with serious health condition

The denial of an eligible employee’s valid request to take FMLA leave constitutes a violation of the FMLA.

Retaliating against an employee who takes FMLA leave

When an employee takes the FMLA leave they are entitled to, employers are not permitted to take adverse action against them. Some examples of retaliation may include:

  • Terminating an employee
  • Demoting an employee to a dissimilar job with less pay/fewer hours/less responsibility
  • Reduction of pay or benefits
  • Taking disciplinary action against the employee

Failing to notify employee of eligibility

Once an Oregon employer knows that an employee meets the criteria for FMLA leave, they are required to notify the employee of their eligibility by providing them with a designation notice and rights and responsibilities notice. Failure to provide adequate notice to an employee could be violation of the FMLA.

Requiring excessive advance notice from employee

Employers can expect an employee to provide reasonable notice (typically at least 30 days in advance for foreseeable reasons) of their plans to take leave. Requiring an employee to provide notice months in advance, particularly for an emergency condition, and refusing to approve their leave when they are unable to provide it, could be a violation of the employee’s rights.

Employers who violate the FMLA should be held accountable for their actions. Employees can file a claim against their employers to recover damages for FMLA violations with the help of an employment law attorney.