The Chicago Bar Association

Family & Medical Leave Act

The Family & Medical Leave Act of 1993 requires that employers with 50 or more workers provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of leave each year (generally a rolling year) to care for (a) the employee’s own serious health conditions, (b) a newborn or newly placed adopted or foster child, or (c) a seriously ill child, spouse or parent.

Upon a return from FMLA leave an employee must be restored to his or her original job, or to an equivalent job with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms and conditions. Additionally, an employer cannot negatively take into account an employee’s use of FMLA time in an employer’s decision concerning the employee with regards to termination, demotion, pay raises, etc.

One of the great strengths of the FMLA is that in connection with proving certain violations of the FMLA the Plaintiff employee does not even need to prove that the employer had a discriminatory intent (and in this regards a no-fault attendance policy will not absolve the employer of liability where the employer took into account the employee’s FMLA-protected absence in making a decision to terminate or otherwise financially discipline the employee).

  • Were you an employee in good standing before you advised your employer that you needed to take FMLA time, and then once your employer became aware of this your employer’s attitude towards you suddenly changed and your employer started going out of his/ her way looking for things that were allegedly wrong with your performance?
  • Has your employer refused your requests for FMLA time?
  • Did your employer terminate your employment under an alleged no fault attendance policy in which part of the time held against you was time that you were off that was protected by the FMLA?

I have many years experience litigating FMLA claims in federal court, as well negotiating severance matters involving potential FMLA claims. I also have frequently advised current employees in FMLA matters, to inform them of their rights and to inform them of certain steps they should take to preemptively protect them from actions Employers may otherwise take against them in the future.

If you believe that you may have been subjected to discrimination due to your taking FMLA time, or if you are concerned that you may in the future be subjected to discrimination due to your using FMLA-protected leave, then call me to briefly discuss if it makes sense for you to come in for an appointment to my Chicago loop office to further discuss your employment situation.

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