Signed into law in 1993, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal statute that requires covered employers throughout the US to provide their employees with job-protected, unpaid leave for certain eligible family and medical reasons.
The US government passed this law to help employees balance work demands and family needs. It allows employees access to medical leave for covered reasons such as the birth or adoption of a child, or the serious health condition of the employee or their family member.
The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) is a state-specific statute that authorizes eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave during a 12-month period. When eligible employees take leave for protected reasons, their employers should not terminate their health benefits.
Some of the reasons covered by CFRA include taking leave to:
The following are some common violations of FMLA or CFRA laws:
The exact steps you should take will depend on the details of the specific violations. Generally, in California, you’ll need to obtain a ‘right to sue’ letter from the Department of Fair Employment and Housing before filing a lawsuit against your employer.
When you file a complaint with DFEH, the agency can investigate the alleged violation and then attempt to help both you and the employer resolve the conflict. If the two parties fail to resolve the issue, the case might be presented before the Fair Employment and Housing Commission. Alternatively, you may be able to sue your employer for damages.
Given that employment law is broad and applies differently depending on the circumstances of each individual case, it’s always advisable to work with a knowledgeable labor and employment attorney in California. Melody Rissell Leonard is such an attorney. Contact her office to schedule a complimentary, confidential case review. During the review, Melody will evaluate your prospective case to determine whether there are sufficient grounds to move forward. If it makes sense to file a claim, Melody will work tirelessly to build your case and try to achieve the desired outcome for your case.