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When your life and your job are disrupted by your own medical issues or those of a close family member, the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) may give you the breathing room you need to cope. The purpose of the FMLA is to allow you the time off of work that you need without the fear of losing your job.
At Banik & Renner, our FMLA discrimination lawyers represent employees when employers have violated the FMLA. Whether you have been fired or are still employed and experiencing discrimination we can assist you in understanding you and your employer’s obligations under the FMLA. We can often help address FMLA issues before the employer/employee relationship is so damaged that it is destroyed.
If you or a loved one have a serious medical condition and you are having difficulties obtaining FMLA or your employer is restraining your use of FMLA or you have been fired, demoted or laid off and you feel it is because of your use of FMLA, contact the FMLA attorneys at Banik & Renner.
The FMLA provides for up to 12 weeks per year of unpaid time off for your own medical needs or that of a family member if:
- Your employer employs 50 employees or more where you work or at all of its locations within a 75 mile radius of the location where you are employed.
- You have worked for your employer for 12 months and during that time you have worked at least 1,250 hours.
- You have a serious health condition
- You need to prepare for the birth or adoption of a child or to care for a newborn or newly adopted child or foster child.
- You need to care for a spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition.
- You or your spouse need time to transition to or from active military duty
- You must ask your employer for FMLA certification documents and have your physician or family member’s physician complete the document
- It is YOUR responsibility to assure that your doctor receives the certification paperwork, fills it out and that your employer receives it
- Your employer has 5 days to approve the certification
- You may be required to use your vacation and paid time off at the same time as FMLA.
- When you call off of work you must state that you are using FMLA leave.
- Keep your own record of the days or partial days of FMLA leave. DO NOT DEPEND ON YOUR EMPLOYER TO DO SO.
- You must notify your employer in advance of scheduled appointments or treatment when possible.
Why choose Banik & Renner?
- Personal service with no assembly line representation.
- The lawyer you meet with is the lawyer who represents you.
- We are local attorneys who have practiced in the community since graduation from Notre Dame Law School three decades ago.
- We attend seminars and remain current in our areas of practice.
- We ask questions and we really listen to your answers to help you.
- We will not “hard sell” you on our representation.
- We explain your options in words you can understand or keep trying until you do.
What do I need to do before meeting with an Attorney?
- Write down a list of all the events that have occurred at work related to the FMLA issue including the date, who was involved and what happened.
- If you have information from the treating physician bring that with you
- If you have applied for FMLA, bring all FMLA documents to your appointment.
- If you have received any warnings, write-ups of performance improvement plans, bring them to your appointment.
- If you have been fired, bring any paperwork regarding your discharge.
How do I contact Banik & Renner?
Click here to contact us or call 574.293.7170 for more information or to schedule a consultation.Additional information can be found at U.S. Department of Labor (www.dol.gov/whd/fmla)
FMLA Frequently Asked QuestionsI don’t want to sue my employer, is there anything I can do?
Yes, meet with a Family Medical Leave Act lawyer at Banik & Renner. Understanding the law and your rights empowers you to take appropriate action. Meeting with an attorney before there is an issue is the best thing an individual with FMLA issues can do. If you don’t understand what you are entitled to under the law and how to ask for what you need, you and your employer will end up frustrated, angry and resentful. We can help you talk with your employer. We consider a lawsuit to be the last resort.
What should I do if I am wrongfully terminated, denied leave or am being treated differently because of my FMLA leave?
FMLA regulations prohibit your employer from interfering with, denying or restraining your use of FMLA or retaliating against you for requesting or using leave or for filing a complaint.
Should I discuss FMLA with the treating physician?
Yes, physicians often do not have a good understanding of your job duties and how they are affected by your or your family member’s serious medical condition. Your physician can do more to help you if he or she understands what you are expected to do at work.
What if my employer does not approve my FMLA?
You may need to have the treating physician clarify the medical condition, specify more carefully the time that may be required off of work or otherwise clarify the need for FMLA leave.
Can my employer look at all of my medical records?
No. However, your employer can, with your permission obtain medical information regarding the condition related to the leave request, but all such requests are governed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
How often can my employer require me to re-submit FMLA paperwork?
Generally, no more frequently than every 30 days however, if an extension is requested during that 30 day period, or the reasons for the leave have changed, recertification can be required. The employer can ask for recertification every six months and at any time that the employer has reason to believe that the leave is being abused. For conditions that last over a year, or for example are chronic, the employer can request a new certification each year, and in such instances the certification can be subject to second and third opinions.
Does my employer have to hold my job open for me?
Continued employment is protected during use of approved FMLA leave. Generally you must be returned to your same position, or to one of equivalent pay and benefits. To not do so, your employer would need to prove that you would have been transferred, demoted or discharged had you not taken FMLA leave. However, if your leave is intermittent or extended and your employer cannot realistically operate with your frequent and unpredictable absences, placing you in a comparable pay/benefit position may be considered.