The FMLA and possible employer liability claims

On Behalf of Dunlap Fiore, LLC |

Employers in Louisiana and elsewhere have various concerns when it comes to their employees. While state and federal laws dictate that employers must meet certain terms and requirements for their employees, having an open dialogue about employee rights could help an employer avoid unnecessary disputes, even helping them avoid employment litigation or other related legal issues.

For some employees, making sure that they are provided the necessary time off from work in a certain situation or event could be very important. Therefore, the Family and Medical Leave Act or FMLA was established. This Act defines the rights entitled to an employee when it comes to taking time off from work without the fear of losing his or her job.

According to the FMLA, employees covered by this act are allowed to take unpaid, job-protected leave for reasons related to his or her family or medical reasons. During this leave, an employee will still receive the continuation of group health insurance coverage and will be entitled to 12 weeks worth of leave in a 12 month period.

Common reasons to invoke the rights of the FMLA include: to care for a newborn within one year of their birth, to care for a newly placed child through adoption or foster care, to care for a spouse, child or parent who currently has a serious health condition or to address the employee’s own medical issues that prevent him or her from performing the essential functions of their job.

In some cases, an employee is able to take more time off from work. If he or she is caring for a covered service member that suffered a serious injury or illness and the service member is the employee’s spouse, child, parent or next of kin, the employee is allowed to take up to 26 weeks of leave during a single 12 month period.

Employers are required to inform employees of this right. In most cases, that means displaying posters that were prepared by the Labor Department, which summarize the Act and rights provided to employees. However, in order for an employee to invoke these rights, he or she must be found eligible.

When an employee is denied leave under the FMLA, he or she might take action against their employer. While employer liability could be a factor in these employment law matters, employers should understand the options available to them to address any disputes or issues arising from the FMLA. This could help the employer and employee reach a workable resolution.

Source:, “Family leave: Mitigating your risk,” Donald Gordon, accessed on June 27. 2016