While Louisiana employees are often viewed as the victims in an employment law dispute, the employer also has the right to formulate a strong defense when there is a legal filing asserting that a violation has taken place. For example, there are certain rules for which a person can be given leave from work under the Family and Medical Leave Act. However, employers are not obligated to provide this leave under every circumstance. A lawsuit asserting that there was a violation of employment regulations might be frivolous or easily defensible.

If the worker is eligible, he or she can have as much as 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a 12-month span without fear of losing the job. The reasons for providing the leave are the following: a child being born or the employee adopting or accepting a child in foster care; a parent’s desire to bond with a child within one year of the child’s birth or placement; to care for a spouse, child or parent who has a health issue; for the employee to deal with a serious health issue that he or she might have and has made the employee unable to do the job; and for an urgent need when a family member who is a spouse, child or parent has deployed as a member of the military. If there is a service member who has a serious injury or illness, FMLA can provide up to 26 weeks of leave in a 12-month period.

The eligibility requirements are important when there is a dispute. The employee must meet the following criteria: he or she must have worked for the employer for a minimum of one year; there must have been a minimum of 1,250 hours of service in the one year before taking the leave; and the person must work at a location with at least 50 employees and within 75 miles of the employee’s worksite. Employees must also provide 30 days’ notice of using FMLA. The employer is required to receive enough information about a medical diagnosis to ensure that the issue meets the requirements for FMLA. The employer can ask for periodic recertification that the leave is needed.

An employer does not have to grant the employee leave if the above situations and conditions are not met. There are times when an employee will seek FMLA when the circumstances do not warrant it. If there is a dispute over FMLA, the employer should make sure to have legal assistance from an attorney who is experienced in all aspects of employment law.

Source: dol.gov, “Employee Rights Under the Family and Medical Leave Act,” accessed on July 4, 2017