Disability and Maternity Leave: What Are My Rights?
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides most employees with job protected leave for specified family and medical reasons. Protected under FMLA is maternity leave (time to care for a newborn child or newly adopted child) and disability leave. Despite protections provided by FMLA, many employers still deny disability and maternity leave or retaliate against employees for taking their rightful leave.
Employment law attorney Dan A. Atkerson provides legal assistance to employees in Allen, TX, and surrounding areas whose rights regarding disability and maternity leave have been violated. Here, we provide an overview of the protections and qualifications for FMLA, and advise employees on the steps they should take if their rights are violated.
Leave Provided Under FMLA
The FMLA provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave per year. The act further provides that, while employees are on FMLA leave, all group health benefits must be maintained. FMLA leave can be used for the following reasons:
- The birth and care of a newborn child
- Placement of a child for adoption or foster care
- To care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition or temporary disability
- The employee is unable to work due to their own serious health condition or temporary disability
Do I Qualify?
Many, but not all employees, are eligible for protections provided by the FMLA. Employees are eligible for FMLA leave if they meet these qualifications:
- The individual is employed by a public agency, a public or private elementary or secondary school, or a private company with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius
- The employee has worked for their employer for at least one year
- The employee has worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous year
Despite clear protections provided by the FMLA, it is not unusual for an employer to violate an employee’s rights regarding disability or maternity leave. Often in these situations, employers assume that they will get away with violations because the employee will be unaware of their legal rights. Common examples of FMLA violations include:
- Denying rightfully due disability or maternity leave
- Telling an employee that their job will not be protected while they are on leave
- Failing to maintain group health benefits while the employee is on leave
- Requiring more than 30 days notice of leave
- Retaliating against an employee for taking disability or maternity leave (i.e, harassment, demotion, denying a promotion or other job opportunities)
- Terminating an employee for using disability or maternity leave
What If My Rights Have Been Violated?
The rights provided to eligible employees under the FMLA are legally protected. If an employer violates those rights, employees may be due financial compensation for resulting losses. Individuals who suspect that they have been wrongfully denied disability or maternity leave, or those who have faced negative repercussions for taking leave, should hire an employment law attorney as soon as possible. Attorney Dan A. Atkerson works on behalf of his Allen clients to hold employers responsible for FMLA violations, and pursue the compensation that is due for damages.
If you suspect an employer of violating your rights regarding disability or maternity leave, attorney Dan A. Atkerson would be happy to advise you of the best course of legal action. To schedule a personal consultation, send us a message online or call or Allen law firm at (214) 383-3606.