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Columbus Attorneys Explain the Family Medical Leave Act

How does the FMLA protect me?

Enacted in 1993, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows employees to take time off from their jobs for health and family-related reasons. Lawmakers enacted the act to create a balance between work and family requirements. Covered employers must offer as many as 12 weeks of unpaid leave to eligible employees without jeopardizing their job status. The FMLA requires the employer to maintain employees’ health benefits during covered periods. It also allows employees to work a less stressful schedule depending on the circumstances.

Sharon Cason-Adams and Roxi A. Liming, the employment law attorneys at Adams & Liming, LLC, have extensive experience helping employees who have been denied leave or lost their job because of a serious illness or family crisis. We have successfully represented many clients in cases involving FMLA noncompliance and retaliation. We listen to you and develop a strategy to achieve the resolution that is best for you and your family.

What situations are covered by the FMLA?

Employees with a serious health condition (including pregnancy) or those caring for a family member with a serious health condition may worry they will lose their job because they must take time off. They also worry whether they will lose their medical benefits or face discrimination because of their situation. Under the FMLA, a covered employer must grant an eligible employee up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Pregnancy, childbirth and time to bond with the newborn (fathers are also covered);
  • For the adoption or foster care of a child and to bond with the child
  • To provide care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition
  • To take medical leave when the employee is not able to work because of a serious health condition

In certain situations, the FMLA authorizes intermittent or reduced leave. Intermittent leave is taken in separate blocks of time and may involve leave periods from an hour to several weeks. Examples would include leave taken on an occasional basis for chemotherapy.

There are also special leave entitlements for military families. Eligible employees may take leaves for reasons related to military deployments of family members. Also, they may take up to 26 weeks of FMLA leave in a 12-month period to care for a service member with a serious injury or illness.

How do I file an FMLA claim?

If you are facing a family emergency, pregnancy or serious illness, you should submit a leave request to your employer. Your employer is required to respond to your request and is permitted to request medical documentation to support the need for leave. If your employer fails to respond or denies your request, retaining a lawyer to help you negotiate a leave is the best way to guarantee your rights under the law. If you were denied the leave or benefits you’re entitled to or are disciplined for using leave, you may deserve compensation for a violation of your FMLA rights.

Our FMLA attorneys review your options and help you decide the best course of action. We may be able to negotiate a swift settlement of your claim. If negotiations fail, we file an administrative complaint with the Department of Labor and, if necessary, a lawsuit.

Let our Family Medical Leave Act attorneys protect your rights

We protect the rights of employees under the Family and Medical Leave Act in Columbus and throughout Ohio. We promptly respond to your questions and concerns, and make it a priority to keep you informed. We have ample parking, and two bus lines run near the office. Call us at 614-488-2053 or contact us online to schedule you free 15-minute consultation. We are available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and by appointment at other times.

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