It’s not easy to juggle the demands of work and family life. What
happens If a family member gets sick or if you or your spouse need to
take time off to care for your new baby? What options exist? In some situations,
an employer may have short or long-term disability policies that give
you time off from work and pay you. But not all employers offer these
benefits. Further you may have to meet stringent requirements showing
that you are totally disabled from your job or from other types of work.
In other situations, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may protect you.
The FMLA is a federal employment law that allows eligible employees to
take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from their jobs annually in the following
• For your own serious health condition;
• To care for your family members who have a serious health condition;
and • For the birth or care of a newborn or adopted child.
If you have questions about the FMLA or when you may be allowed to take
leave, it is important to consult with an experienced
Atlanta employment attorney right away.
The FMLA also protects you against retaliation. If your employer retaliats
against you for taking FMLA leave, or even simply for asking for leave,
you may have a claim for FMLA retaliation.
A recent case
Nelson v. Clermont Cnty. Veterans Serv. Comm’n, looked at when an employee – Kristan Nelson – may be allowed
to take time off to care for a family member in crisis. In this situation
the worker’s teenaged daughter was raped. Following the incident,
the employee became extremely distraught and suffered “crying spells.”
She requested time off pursuant to the FMLA, which was granted. However,
shortly after she returned she was fired. The county agency claimed that
she was fired because of “declining job performance” and alleged
manipulation of records. Nelson responded that her termination was “pretextual”
[i.e. an excuse].
On review the Court made two important determinations. First, the court
determined that it was indeed possible that a jury could find that the
reasons Nelson’s employer made for firing her were really an excuse,
and that the real reason was in retaliation for her taking leave. Such
retaliation would be illegal and violate the FMLA.
Further, in making this determination, the court said Nelson raised good
legal arguments by showing that the commission didn’t follow it
own procedures and as a result, failed to make a “reasonably informed
and considered decision.”
The FMLA fills an important void when you need to take leave to care for
yourself or a family member. Denying you leave – or retaliating
against you for taking leave – may be a violation of federal law.
For more information or if you have questions concerning leave, please
contact the dedicated
Atlanta family and medical leave attorneys at The Buckley Law Firm, LLC for an immediate consultation.