General Federal FMLA Claims for Employees

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General Federal FMLA Claims for Employees

Many employees in the state of Florida are not aware that they are entitled to federal Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) if they qualify. This aid is intended to allow them to take unpaid time away from work for specific, protected reasons. Not all employers in the state of Florida qualify to offer these benefits, but employers who do offer them usually cannot deny the employee who is asking to use them.

Protected leave can mean the difference between losing your job and keeping it. Employees who are eligible for this form of leave but are denied by their employer might need the help of an attorney. The team at Lopez Law Group has years of experience with federal FMLA cases and can assist employees who have wrongfully been denied the use of this protected time or who have been removed from their position before returning to work.

Who is Covered by Federal FMLA in the State of Florida?

Employers in Florida who have at least 50 employees for at least 20 weeks of the current or previous year must offer federal FMLA to employees who work for them. These employees are eligible for FMLA leave if:

  •         They have been employed by the company for at least a year
  •         Have worked at least 1,250 hours in the previous year
  •         They work at a location with at least 50 employees that are within a 75 miles radius

Federal FMLA offers up to 12 weeks of time off to employees who meet specific qualifications. Employees who are in the military or who are family members of those on active duty might be entitled to more than the 12 weeks of time that is laid out in the basic FMLA protections. While not every employer is large enough to offer this kind of leave, there are many companies that do offer FMLA and must stand by the strictures of the laws that provide for it.

You might not be aware of your right to take this paid leave, but your employer should have offered this option to you if you have reached out to them about taking leave for an emergency. This is one of the rights that employees in the state of Florida have access to when their employer qualifies, and being informed of this option is part of the duty of your employer. Employees who are denied access to these rights or who are not fully informed about their ability to take protected leave should contact a skilled legal team for support. At Lopez Law, we can advise you about your rights and can also intervene on your behalf to help you to access the leave benefits that you are entitled to by state law.

What Are the Allowed Reasons to Take FMLA Leave?

Employees cannot take FMLA without qualifying in specific ways. Regular time off is still covered by PTO, and not FMLA leave. FMLA leave is offered only for specific instances that usually qualify as health emergencies or family emergencies. The protected reasons that you can use federal FMLA in the state of Florida are:

  •         Recuperating from a serious health condition
  •         Caring for a family member with a serious health problem
  •         To bond with a new child
  •         To help handle needs related to a family member’s military service
  •         Because you have been called up to active duty in the military
  •         To care for a family member who has suffered a severe injury while serving in the military

Employees who are eligible for this kind of leave can take up to 12 weeks of time off in a 12-month period. Military-related leave can be offered for up to 26 weeks. The leave that is protected related to military service is per-injury and per-service member entitlement.

Military leave cases are often far more complex than regular FMLA cases, which means that working with an experienced legal professional can be a good idea. Being sure that you are being granted the leave that you are due and that you do not run into issues with requesting a longer leave period can be key. Not all HR departments are familiar with the complexities of military FMLA and might wrongfully deny an employee the protected time off that they need to care for a family member or themselves.

Employees will be allowed to continue to utilize their health insurance while they are on leave, but the leave will not be paid. Staff are usually required to use up all accrued PTO during their leave period before transitioning to unpaid leave.

If an employee leaves and their specific job role is terminated, the law requires that the employee be brought back onto the staff with a commensurate pay level and at a commensurate level of seniority in the company.

General Federal FMLA Claims for Employees

Florida Domestic Violence Leave

This is another form of federal FMLA that is offered by law in the state of Florida to employees who work for companies with at least 50 employees. Employees who have been victims of domestic violence are allowed to take up to three days off in a 12—month period for the following reasons:

  •         To seek an injunction
  •         To get medical care
  •         To get counseling
  •         To use the services of a victim’s rights group, a shelter, or a rape crisis center
  •         To relocate or to make their home secure
  •         To seek legal assistance

Employers cannot deny this kind of leave even if the person is out of PTO. These days are protected and can be taken without pay. Employees who are denied the use of their domestic violence leave should seek the support of a skilled attorney. If the employer offers these benefits, there are very limited situations that allow them to deny the leave.

What Can a Skilled Lawyer Do?

If you have been denied the right to use your FMLA or you have been told that you will be terminated during your time away from work, you need to reach out to a skilled legal professional right away. This kind of leave is protected, and most employers qualify to offer it. You cannot be denied the use of this time unless you meet very specific qualifications for denial. There are only rare instances where employees can be correctly denied the use of FMLA time.

You might also need to reach out to a lawyer for assistance if you have been told that your job will be changing during your absence or that you will be demoted when you come back to work. These actions also are not legal. While the law does provide for changes to your position title and responsibilities while you are away from work, you cannot be paid less or be demoted from positions of seniority during your absence.

A skilled legal professional will research the details of your case and be willing to represent you in a settlement hearing or in court. These kinds of issues can be very detrimental to someone’s ability to take care of their own health or the health of their family and can cause lasting issues with a person’s career as well. Being denied the use of federally protected time off is not lawful, and employers who take these kinds of actions need to be held accountable for their treatment of their staff. Even if the mistakes that have been made by your employer are due to ignorance of the laws in question, this is no excuse for the illegal treatment of employees.

The team at the Lopez Law Group has years of experience working on these kinds of leave cases and can provide you with the support and representation that you need to fight an unfair denial of your federally protected leave. The team can also assist with issues related to pay changes, and job role changes while you are away and support your requests for military FMLA for the full and allowed time period. There are many aspects of these laws that can cause problems with someone’s employer if the company is not familiar with the law. Let the team at Lopez Law work on your side to protect your FMLA rights when you need to make use of them.

General Federal FMLA Claims for Employees

Work With Lopez Law for Your FMLA Case Needs

If you have requested FMLA leave and have been denied, or you have been told that you will not be allowed to come back to work at the same rate of pay or with the same level of responsibility, you need to reach out to us today. We have worked on many FMLA cases in the state of Florida, and we have the skills and experience to handle your case from start to finish. Employers in the state of Florida who are required to offer FMLA leave must be required to allow employees the full use of their rights with regard to this time off.

Contact us today for a consultation, and allow us to begin working on your case today. Do not wait to get the representation that you need to protect your FMLA rights.


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