If you are an employee who has taken leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), it is important that you understand the intricacies of the law. The FMLA offers protections for eligible workers and gives them the right to take unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks in any one year period without facing any type of retaliation.
Even if you think that you understand the details of FMLA and how it can benefit you, it is important to learn more about situations that easily become more complex. In doing so, you will be able to understand your rights and be empowered to protect them, even if your employer challenges you.
The definition of "serious health condition" is more broad than you think
Eligible employees are able to take FMLA leave when they or their close family member are suffering from a serious health condition. Many employees do not take time off under the FMLA because they believe that they are not suffering from a condition that is serious enough. However, issues relatied to pregnancy can be defined as a serious health condition, as could the flu if it is affecting the worker's ability to carry out basic tasks.
FMLA absences cannot be considered when calculating excessive leave
If your employer has accused you of taking excessive leave, it is important that you make sure that they have not counted any FMLA absences as part of this decision, since they do not have the right to do so.
Your employer can demand medical documentation
Your employer can demand proof of your health condition under the FMLA. Therefore it is important that you are able to provide reports from a qualified medical professional.
If you want to exercise your rights as an employee who is eligible for FMLA leave, it is important that you understand the details of the law.