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Employees advised to keep records about family leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act create a legal framework to protect qualifying employees from job loss during a health crisis or when a relative requires care. Because disputes among employers and workers are increasing, some observers recommend that people keep careful records of communications with an employer about the time off.

An employer's human resources department cannot be relied on to supply complete or accurate information regarding a worker's right to leave. The protections established by the FMLA and CFRA exist concurrently. The complexity of each law and their overlapping and separate protections generally require careful interpretation by an attorney before clear answers to specific situations can be determined.

Although settling any given dispute can involve a lengthy analysis of the laws, legal observers maintain that most people have the ability to gain a basic understanding of their rights. This knowledge could help an employee resolve a dispute quickly by standing up for rights. An employee exercising a right to leave should document all communications, including text messages with an employer, and write notes about verbal conversations.

Many situations could enable a person to take time off of work, such as pregnancy, a family medical emergency or desire to bond with an infant. Someone wishing to exercise these rights might want to consult withan attorney, especially if an employer denies a request or retaliates after a leave has been taken. An attorney might communicate directly with an employer and attempt to negotiate a resolution. Filing a lawsuit might be necessary if an accord cannot be reached.

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