Springfield, Massachusetts FMLA Attorneys
Protecting Your Rights to Family and Medical Leave Under the Law
Did your employer deny you time off for medical reasons for you or your family that you believed you deserved under the law? If so, you should contact the Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore to discuss your rights and options. We represent employees who have had their rights violated, so please contact us to learn more about how we can help you today.
Many people spend 40 hours or more at work every week. However, we all know that life can be complicated and sometimes we must address issues with our health or the health of the members of our families. These issues can require us to take time away from work. Fortunately, both federal and state laws give employees the right to take a specific amount of time off work if they have qualifying medical reasons for themselves or their family.
Despite the clear requirements and protections of family and medical leave laws, many employers still wrongfully deny employees time off or put employees’ jobs in jeopardy if they take leave to which they are entitled. In such situations, the law provides employees with the right to seek financial recovery for any harm or losses they suffered because of the unlawful actions of their employers. It is critical to have the help of an experienced employment attorney if you believe you may have a claim.
Who Has the Right to Family Medical Leave?
Unfortunately, not everyone has the right to take time off and still have their job protected. Generally, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) covers people who work for an employer with 50 or more employees. Employees must also have a qualifying reason for requesting the leave, which may include:
- Recovery from a serious illness or injury
- Providing care for a family member who has a serious illness or injury
(family members include spouse, children, or parents)
- Bonding with a child after a new birth or adoption
- Addressing complications arising from a family member’s active service in the military
- Providing care for a family member who was seriously injured during active duty
If an employee qualifies for FMLA protection and has a valid reason for requesting leave from work, the law requires that an employer allow the employee up to 12 weeks of leave per year with the guarantee that they will be reinstated to their position or an equivalent position. In situations involving an injured military member, 26 weeks of leave may be taken. While the law does not require employers to provide paid leave, employees do have the right to retain their health insurance during their time off.
Massachusetts law expands the rights of employees by providing the following in addition to the rights granted by the FMLA:
- Companies with six or more employees must provide up to eight weeks of leave for a birth or adoption.
- Companies with 50 or more employees must provide employees with up to 24 hours off per year so they can attend events or activities at their child’s school, take their child to the dentist or doctor, or take an elderly relative to appointments.
- Companies with 50 or more employees must provide up to 15 days off per year to employees who experienced domestic violence or who need to help family members who were victims of domestic violence.
Were You Wrongfully Denied FMLA Time?
While some people may never need to request FMLA time, others may depend on this time off. However, even people who are qualified to take leave sometimes find that their requests are denied. If you feel that you cannot take time off work without losing your job, you may not undergo the medical treatment you need and could develop complications that result in unnecessary medical expenses. In addition, if you believe that you cannot care for a sick loved one, you may have to pay out of pocket for another caretaker or incur other expenses as a result.
Employers who wrongfully deny family and medical leave to qualified employees may be held liable for any losses employees incurred as a result of wrongful denials. To know whether you have the right to seek compensation from your employer, you should contact our knowledgeable Springfield FMLA attorneys as soon as possible.
Were You the Victim of FMLA Retaliation?
In some cases, an employer may grant your requested leave but then retaliate against you in some way. Termination is likely the most serious form of retaliation; however, the law protects you from any type of adverse employment action in response to taking FMLA time. Some examples of unlawful FMLA retaliation include the following:
- Pay decrease
- Denial of promotion or pay increase
- Less desirable job assignments
- Less desirable shifts or schedule
- Discipline or disparate treatment
While you may be able to take time off to recover from your illness, bond with your child, or care for a family member, returning to work in the face of retaliation can be financially and mentally distressing. You have the right to seek compensation for any losses you suffered as a result of unlawful FMLA retaliation. These claims can be extremely complex, however, as employers will often try to provide a pretextual reason for the adverse employment action. Our FMLA attorneys have the experience to prove this type of claim and help our clients receive the compensation they deserve under the law.
Contact a Springfield FMLA Law Firm for More Information Today
The lawyers at the Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore are dedicated employee rights advocates. Our employment attorneys represent individuals and groups against their employers in a wide variety of legal actions. We work to protect the rights of employees in Springfield, MA and the surrounding area and to help them recover if they have been the victim of unlawful or harmful actions, such as denial of qualified FMLA time or unlawful retaliation.
If you believe your employer violated your rights, contact Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore today. You can have an experienced Springfield employment attorney review your case by filling out our online questionnaire or by calling our office today at 413-417-7035.