Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”) mandates that employers with 50 or more employees provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during “any 12-month period” to eligible employees.  Leave may be taken for the birth of a child; the placement of a child for adoption or foster care; to care for a spouse, son, daughter or parent who has a serious health condition; or because of a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of his or her position.

Not surprisingly, the FMLA has spawned an increasing number of lawsuits as the rights and obligations of employers and employees are clarified, defined and tested in state and federal court.  Commonly litigated issues include:  What constitutes a serious health condition?  What are the employer’s and employee’s notice obligations under the Act?  When can an employee who has asserted rights under the FMLA be terminated for conduct that is unrelated to his or her exercise of rights under the FMLA?  When can an employee be transferred to an alternative position that better accommodates absences protected by the FMLA?  What constitutes interference with or retaliation for an employee’s rights under the Act?   What are an employee’s specific rights with respect to reinstatement?  How is the FMLA coordinated with workers compensation laws and/or the Americans with Disabilities Act?

Taft’s employment lawyers regularly advise employers with respect to their FMLA compliance programs and, when the need arises, represent employers against allegations of wrongdoing under the FMLA.