Employment litigation and the Family and Medical Leave Act


There are many reasons why employees in Louisiana might seek to take off of work. Whether it is a personal day or a sick day, employees are afforded a certain amount of days a year to miss work. In some cases, an employee might seek an extended amount of time off; however, in order to do this, the person must be eligible to do so. Therefore, if an employer finds that an employee is not currently eligible for the Family and Medical Leave Act, the employer might not approve the employees missed work.

According to the United States Department of Labor, the Family and Medical Leave Act allows employees to take un-paid, job-protected leave that is related to specific family and medical reasons. If an employee is eligible for the FMLA, the person's group health insurance coverage would continue under the same terms and conditions as if the employee did not take a leave.

If an employee is eligible for the FMLA, the person is entitled to a 12 workweeks of leave in a 12-month period. There are five major reasons an employee could seek this type of leave. The first is for the birth of a new child and to care for the newborn within one year of their birth. Second, an employee could use FMLA when the individual adopts or fosters a child and needs to care for the newly placed child within one year of the child's placement.

The third reason is for the employee to care for the spouse, child or parent who currently has a serious health condition. Next, if the employee is dealing with a serious health condition, causing the employee to be unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job, the employee could use FMLA. Lastly, the FMLA can be used for any urgent needs arising from the employee's spouse, son, daughter or parent on active duty with the military.

It should also be noted that an employee is eligible for an extended leave through the FMLA if their spouse, son, daughter or parent are a service member are were seriously injured. The FMLA allows to employee to take 26 workweeks of leave in a 12-month period to care for the injured family member.

If an employee seeks to take a leave based on the FMLA and the person is not approved, the employee might initiate a claim against an employer. However, if an employer believes that an employee is not currently eligible based on the terms of the Act, and employer defense could be made.

Source: Dol.gov, "Family and Medical Leave Act," accessed Feb. 1, 2016

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