The 1964 Civil Rights Act, along with the Americans with Disabilities Act and some other laws, clearly prohibited disability discrimination long before Congress passed the Family Medical Leave Act. The FMLA is much broader. Rather than prove employment discrimination, employees must only establish a qualifying condition under the FMLA. Furthermore, the FMLA does not just apply to employers and employees. It also encompasses sick family members and some other non-job-related situations.
The FMLA is one of the most worker-friendly pieces of anti-discrimination legislation. So, many employers dislike it intensely. In times like these, the Law Office of Mitchell Kline is there to fight for your rights as a worker. We know the law, and we know how to use it to help people like you. That fight begins with thorough preparation. We work diligently to build your case, and therefore, the results we obtain often exceed our clients’ expectations.
In exchange for the broad protections outlined below, the FMLA only applies in limited situations. Its protections are available if the employee:
Special rules apply to flight attendants, military personnel, and in some other situations.
Additionally, the employee must have a qualifying condition. In addition to most illnesses and injury, a qualifying condition could also be birth and bonding time with a newborn or newly-adopted baby, caring for a sick blood relative (not an in-law), and matters related to the military deployment of a close family member.
Most workers with qualifying conditions are eligible for 26 weeks of unpaid leave in any twelve-month period. The leave time need not be consecutive and need not be for the same qualifying condition. Moreover, FMLA leave can be on an hourly basis. For example, if you have a bad day during surgical recovery, you may be able to come in late or leave early with little notice to your boss and with no repercussions.
Employers need not take serious illness or FMLA-related claims at face value. They may ask for verification. In fact, they may also ask for additional documentation, as long as the request is reasonable as well as specific, and they give workers at least seven days to obtain the requested information. An employer may ask for a recertification once every 30 days.
These rights have limits. Workers are not required to sign healthcare information waivers and employers may not communicate directly with healthcare providers. Such exchanges would violate the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act as well as numerous other state and federal laws.
Finally, employers are not required to provide paid FMLA leave and they are not required to give people their same jobs back. However, they must offer positions that are substantially similar in every way, such as hours, type of work, the location of employment, and amount of pay.
FMLA leave is not quite on-demand medical leave, but it is pretty close. For a free consultation with an experienced employment law attorney in Chicago, contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline. After-hours appointments are available.
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