For most people in Chicagoland, family comes before everything else. Most people work partially to find personal fulfillment, but mostly to provide financially for their families. Occasionally, success at work, at least in the eyes of a boss, and family commitments come into conflict. A number of federal laws protect workers in these situations, but many employers ignore these laws.
At the Law Office of Mitchell Kline, our parental leave lawyers in Chicago understand that happy employees are productive employees. That is why we offer generous leave packages to our employees, and that is why we fight so hard to protect your legal right to paternity leave when this right is threatened. Because of our hard work and dedication, we normally settle these matters out of court and on worker-friendly terms.
The 1993 FMLA gives most Chicagoland workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a new child. That 12 weeks applies to both birthing time and bonding time. Furthermore, the leave applies to naturally-born children or adopted children. The FMLA also provides protected, unpaid leave for:
Leave is available if the employee has worked at least 1,250 hours over the last 12 months, which breaks down to about 25 hours a week. Additionally, the law only applies to employers who have more than 50employees. Additionally, employers can request appropriate documentation, such as a medical diagnosis of pregnancy complications that require bed rest.
On a related note, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act also applies to many parental leave situations. Employers cannot terminate or discipline current or potential employees for requesting or taking maternity or paternity leave.
The calendar says we live in the 21st century. But many parental leave policies still have 20th-century provisions. The most common example is a leave policy for expectant and new mothers but no leave for expectant and new fathers. Alternatively, paternity leave could be much shorter or require much more documentation or effort to obtain.
Under Illinois and federal law, all workers in similar situations are entitled to the same treatment. That is the essence of not only employment discrimination laws, but also other anti-discriminatory measures.
If a leave policy treated different people differently, a Chicago parental leave lawyer can make a claim for disparate treatment discrimination. Substantial compensation, including money for economic losses, could be available.
In these situations, employers must present a discriminatory-neutral reason for the disparate treatment. Employers have the burden of proof, and the burden of persuasion, on this point.
Additionally, parental leave policies must meet statutory and industry standards in terms of length, availability, and compensation (paid vs. unpaid leave).
Mothers and fathers are both entitled to family leave. For a free consultation with an experienced parental leave attorney in Chicago, contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these cases.