Health Care Shouldn't Hurt Your Career
At some point in their careers, most California employees will have to balance the needs of their jobs with the needs of their families and/or their own medical needs. In some cases, this will necessitate the employee taking a leave from work to attend to family and/or medical needs.
Employees should not be subject to penalties from their employers for exercising those rights. Indeed, employers are required by state and federal law to provide California employees with family and medical leave, and to not treat unfairly employees who take such leaves. Where employers violate those laws, an employee may file a lawsuit against the employer to obtain damages.
California employees working for employers that employ at least 50 workers in a 75‐mile radius are protected by both the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and California Family Rights Act (CFRA). The FMLA and CFRA both require employers to allow employees period to:
- Give birth to a child or care for a child under the age of 1 year;
- Obtain placement of an adopted child or foster care child, or care for such a child within the first year of placement;
- Care for the medical needs of a spouse, parent or child with a serious health condition;
- Tend to the employee's own serious medical condition that makes him or her unable to do the job; or
- Deal with certain issues arising out a family member's military service.
The law also allows up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave to care for the serious health condition of a family member in the military. California law also requires employers to provide up to four months of leave for employees actually “disabled” by pregnancy or pregnancy‐related conditions, in addition to the 12 weeks for care of the newborn discussed above.
Under the law, the employer is required to continue providing the same level of health benefits to the employee during the leave period and, in most circumstances, restore the employee to his or her position within the company with similar responsibilities. Although an employer is not required to pay the employee during the leave (except where the employee elects to use sick time or vacation days), the employee is entitled to accrual of seniority benefits during the leave, and should continue to be permitted to enjoy benefits such as employee benefit plans and disability plans.
Where an employer fails to honor its responsibilities under the law ‐‐ for example, bringing back a father after paternity leave to a lower position within the company than when he left ‐‐ the employee may sue the employer for damages.
Working with an experienced employment law attorney can become critical to proving a plaintiff's family and medical leave case. Pasadena employment discrimination attorney Brian Vogel has practiced civil litigation for 27 years, spending the last 8 years focused primarily on representing employees in actions against employers who have violated employees' rights under the law. He knows the ins and outs of state and federal family and medical leave law, and the strategies that employers try to use to discourage employees from pursuing their rights. He will work closely with you to try to obtain maximum compensation for your family and medical leave claim.
At Vogel Law, APC, we work with employees who have simply tried to exercise their family and medical leave rights under the law, but found their employers unwilling to honor those rights. If you have had your family and medical leave rights violated by an employer in California, contact Pasadena employment law attorney Brian Vogel, who will fight to protect your rights under state and federal employment law. For a free consultation, call (626) 796‐7470.