FMLA Interference and Retaliation

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide up to 12 weeks of job protected unpaid leave a year.  To be eligible for FMLA leave, an employee must have worked for their employer for 12 months and 1,250 hours within the last 12 months. An employee may request FMLA leave for any of the following reasons:

  1. Care for a new child, including an adopted child or foster child;
  2. Care for a seriously-ill family member;
  3. Recover from a serious illness;
  4. Care for an injured service member; or
  5. Care for a service member’s qualifying needs associated with deployment.

There are 2 types of discrimination claims that may arise when an employee’s FMLA rights have been violated, interference and retaliation.

FMLA interference occurs when an employer delays, restricts, or inhibits an employee’s FMLA rights. An employer who tries to convince an eligible employee to not use FMLA leave or delays providing an employee notice of their rights under FMLA are examples of inference. When making an FMLA interference claim, an employee must show the following:

  1. The employee was eligible for FMLA leave;
  2. The employer was subject to FMLA;
  3. The employee’s reason for requesting leave was protected by FMLA;
  4. The employee gave proper notice of their intent to take leave; and
  5. The employer denied the employee FMLA benefits.

FMLA retaliation occurs when an employee requests FMLA leave, then suffers an adverse consequence as a result of the request. Termination or differential treatment of an employee after requesting FMLA leave are examples of retaliation. When making a FMLA retaliation claim, an employee must show the following:

  1. The employee invoked their right to FMLA-qualifying leave;
  2. The employee suffered an adverse employment action; and
  3. The adverse employment action was related to the employee requesting FMLA leave.

Our Birmingham, Alabama employment law firm has a great deal of experience handling FMLA interference and retaliation cases across the State of Alabama. If you feel you may have experienced FMLA discrimination please contact us at (205) 588-0699 for a free consultation to discuss your potential case.

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