FMLA Retaliation Cases
The FMLA gives most people the right to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for themselves or a sick family member. But some companies don’t like it when their employees take FMLA leave. Sometimes employees are fired for asking to take FMLA leave, while out on leave or soon after they return. This is called FMLA retaliation and its illegal.
FMLA retaliation cases are typically very strong. They are so strong that we often settle them quickly without filing suit.
We have been helping people with FMLA retaliation cases since 1999. We have developed a system that often provides our clients with a fast and effective solution. We can help you if you have been fired for taking FMLA leave or inquiring about it.
Not everyone is covered by the FMLA. In order to be protected by the FMLA, you must have worked at least 1250 hours in the past year and your employer has to have at least 50 employees working within a 75 mile radius. You are covered if you meet those two requirements. If not, you may be covered by a local state or city law.
The Ottinger Law Firm routinely helps clients fight FMLA violations so these employees can take their medical leave, return to work without retaliation or demotion, and/or receive compensation for loss of wages and emotional distress.
How Can An Employment Lawyer Help Me?
We can help you by contacting your former employer and negotiating a settlement. As mentioned above, these cases are often so strong that we can leverage an early solution without filing suit. We have handled hundreds of these cases since 1999 and know how to resolve them. Most people want to resolve the case quickly so they can move on with their life. We try to make that happen.
Problems often arise from an employer’s misunderstanding of FMLA, and many of our clients are relieved to know that their boss is not the final word on the subject.
In fact, supervisors, managers, and even human resources departments in companies large and small are often woefully under-trained on FMLA compliance. Their ignorance or misinterpretation of the law can impact your rights and earnings, and when they do, you are entitled to relief.
In 2016, there were 1,246 FMLA enforcement complaints filed with the Department of Labor.
You are not alone in experiencing this form of discrimination.
There are two basic forms of relief for an FMLA case: Damages or Job Reinstatement
#1: Double Damages
If you are fired in violation of the FMLA you are entitled to recover double damages. For example, if you lose four months pay, you are legally entitled to eight months pay under the FMLA. This double damage provision is built into the FMLA as a punishment against companies who violate it.
In addition to these monetary damages, states like New York and California also have family medical leave laws that may entitle you to other forms of compensation and relief for emotional distress.
#2: Get Your Job Back (If You Want It)
Even after a bad FMLA experience with an employer, some clients want their jobs back, and this is theoretically possible.
In reality, however, this is almost never a good idea. There is too much damage to the relationship, and it is impossible to go back to the way things were before.
When clients come to us for help, it is to gain compensation for the FMLA violation so they can move on with their lives and careers.
As licensed employment lawyers in New York and California, we are experienced using both State family medical leave laws and FMLA.
What Can Be Done to Resolve My Case?
First, our employment lawyers will evaluate your case. The primary step is to determine whether you and your employer meet all the FMLA requirements:
- You’ve worked for your employer for at least 12 months;
- You’ve worked at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months;
- Your employer has at least 50 employees at your work location or within a 75-mile radius;
- Your family medical leave request is for one of these situations:
- for the birth and care of the newborn child of an employee;
- for placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care;
- to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or
- to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.
Next, we’ll calculate your damages for current and future losses. What income and benefits have you lost? What will it cost to get what is owed to you?
Then we’ll prepare a letter to your employer explaining your case and seeking resolution. In many cases, this step resolves the problem, even if it takes several weeks to come up with a fair settlement through negotiation, mediation, or arbitration.
This process benefits you in 3 major ways:
- The process is much faster than a lawsuit (weeks versus years);
- Once we file suit, your name will forever be tied in Google search results to a lawsuit against your employer, which will limit your future job prospects;
- Pre-litigation solutions like negotiation, mediation, or arbitration statistically have better results for the employee than a lawsuit.
Our goal is always to resolve cases out of court because this method benefits you the most.
How Much Will It Cost Me?
The vast majority of FMLA cases we handle are on a contingent basis. That means you pay no money to us up front for handling your case.
Our fee is 33.33% of your award at the end of the case. If we win nothing for you, then you owe us nothing.
There is no financial risk to you in pursuing your case.
How Does FMLA Work?
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was designed to help employees take reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons.
An illness, childbirth, or care for a sick immediate family member should not result in the loss of a job, and the FMLA protects employees from having to choose between the health and welfare of their family and their livelihood. Employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year.
The act has been used by employees more than 100 million times since it was enacted in 1993, allowing employees to welcome a new child into their homes via childbirth, adoption, or foster care; to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or to manage a serious personal health condition—all without worrying about losing their jobs.
The good news? FMLA works for both employees and employers when done right (91% of employers surveyed by the Department of Labor report a neutral or favorable impact on absenteeism, turnover, and morale with the FMLA).
However, we’ve seen the FMLA misused in a variety of ways by employers, and our experienced employment lawyers work for clients who are denied their legal right to take medical leave or who suffer retaliation, loss of wages, or termination for taking FMLA.