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Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Archives

How natural disasters affect FLSA and FMLA

Natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey may raise issues between some employees and employers regarding the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act. If a person is on FMLA leave when a natural disaster occurs that results in the employer having to close the premises, that person generally cannot have the leave docked for those hours of closure.

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.

Equitable estoppel can apply to the FMLA

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was enacted to provide employees the ability to take a leave of absence for medical or family issues without fear of losing employment. The act as written applies only to companies with over 50 employees. However, one court has determined it can apply to smaller companies, depending on how the company communicates with its employees. Smaller firms, including those in Los Angeles, should take notice of the court's reasoning.

Employers can terminate an employee for FMLA fraud

Many California workers know that the Family and Medical Leave Act is designed to protect them in the event they must take time off work for family or medical reasons. However, a court case showed that a worker can still be terminated from his or her job while on FMLA leave if the reasons for termination are unrelated.

Providing incorrect legal information may cost employers

California residents may be interested in a legal case involving an employee and her company, Miller Compressing Company. The circumstances of the case began in 2011 and were affirmed by Seventh Circuit in 2017 in favor of the employee.

Timing of termination matters to claims of retaliation

The law could view a California employer as retaliating against an employee if the company terminates the person's employment only a short time after the person engages in protected activity. A ruling from a federal appeals court illustrates this concept of temporal proximity, which indicates that one action caused another action soon thereafter.

FMLA leave and "in loco parentis"

A California employer of a worker who has applied for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act to care for someone who is not legally or biologically the employee's parent or child might still be required to grant that employee FMLA leave. "In loco parentis" refers to a relationship that is like that of parent and child, and if this relationship exists, the employee may be eligible for FMLA leave. Furthermore, the employee does not have to specifically invoke the phrase "in loco parentis" but simply needs to state the nature of the relationship. It may be up to the employer to ask for more information.

Fired employee's FMLA case can go forward

Communication between California employers and their employeescould prevent court battles over the right to take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. The case of a man fired by a credit union hinged upon insufficient communication. Although a federal district court granted a summary judgment in the employer's favor, based upon the employee not providing enough details when taking leave, the appeals court disagreed because the employer should have made a greater effort to gather information. This ruling will allow the case to heard by a jury.

Federal court of appeals ruling supports employers

California workers as well as their employers may want to take note of a federal appellate court ruling issued on Jan. 18. It means that employees cannot necessarily use a disability or the Family and Medical Leave Act as excuses in regards to termination for misconduct and work performance. Therefore, in most of these situations, the employer's assessment of the facts will matter more than the employee's theory when it comes to the type of punishment the employee will receive for their misconduct or poor work performance.

7th Circuit awards employee in FMLA retaliation case

California residents may be interested in a recent 7th Circuit decision that involves the Family and Medical Leave Act as well as work-at-home arrangements between employers and employees. The January 9 decision was a victory for a worker who was fired from her job after leaving work to care for a family member.

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