Articles Posted in FMLA

Sometimes, a worker’s requesting or taking Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) will cause an unethical employer to fire that employee wrongfully. Other times, though, a legally compliant employer legitimately needs to fire an employee on FMLA leave. Whether you are an employee caught in the former scenario or an employer thrust into the latter circumstance, you need a clear understanding of your FMLA rights and responsibilities, which is where the advice of an experienced Atlanta FMLA leave lawyer can be vital.

An example of the latter of those two FMLA situations occurred in a case that ended in federal litigation recently. The lawsuit pitted a municipal employer against one of its park employees.

The employee, M.M., was an assistant park manager who started and maintained a food pantry at the park’s family center. In early 2022, the city’s HR team enlisted a local police detective to investigate allegations that the manager had been unloading donated pantry items at her home and keeping them for herself

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The Family and Medical Leave Act grants substantial rights to workers and has the potential to impose significant penalties on employers who fail to comply with the law, as an employer in neighboring Alabama found out recently. Given how costly a violation can be (either to you as an employer or a worker,) it is highly important to know your FMLA rights and responsibilities. If you have questions or concerns, you should consult an experienced Atlanta FMLA retaliation lawyer.

An investigation that the U.S. Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division recently wrapped up is a good example of how employers can engage in FMLA retaliation, possibly even without malicious motivation.

The case involved two workers at an auto plant west of Birmingham, Alabama. One worker sought FMLA leave to care for a family member, and the other requested time off due to their own medical condition.

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The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) creates several responsibilities for employers, not the least of which is proper FMLA-related recordkeeping. The law allows employers to use a rolling 12-month period to assess an employee’s entitlement to leave. That allowance, however, means that the employer must accurately monitor and record both workers’ FMLA usage (and remaining leave time) and the date when the 12-month period rolls over. Failure to do so accurately can lead to erroneous FMLA denials and, as a result, create liability exposure based on an FMLA interference lawsuit. If you’re an employer seeking to ensure complete FMLA compliance or a worker who believes you’ve been harmed by a wrongful denial of FMLA leave, an experienced Atlanta FMLA interference lawyer can provide essential advice and information about your situation.

To win an FMLA interference case in federal court in Georgia (or Florida or Alabama,) an employee must demonstrate that she “(1) ‘was denied a benefit to which she was entitled under the FMLA,’ and (2) as a result was prejudiced in some way that is remediable’” by a court judgment.

A recent FMLA case from here in North Georgia shows how a recordkeeping issue and the confusion it possibly caused created a potential instance of FMLA interference.

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Whether you’re an employee or an employer, it is important to understand the rights and responsibilities set out in the Family and Medical Leave Act. It is also vital to know what you have to prove (as a worker) or disprove (as an employer) in a case of illegal retaliation or interference in violation of the FMLA. To better understand both your rights and your obligations — both at work and at trial — you should contact an experienced Atlanta FMLA retaliation lawyer to get the knowledgeable answers you need.

A recent federal case that originated in Florida is important for a couple of reasons. One, it establishes for the first time what the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose decisions guide federal cases in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama) considers to be the proper analytical standard for assessing FMLA retaliation cases. Two, it provides a good reminder to employers of the profound benefits that can be reaped by engaging in proper and thorough documentation of workers’ performance (and performance issues) throughout their time with that employer.

In the FMLA case from Florida, the employee was a woman who worked for a nationwide chain of pharmacies. The employee had a son with profound disabilities, requiring her to use FMLA leave periodically.

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The Family and Medical Leave Act provides several rights and imposes several responsibilities on employees and employers alike. It is important to be keenly cognizant of these rights and responsibilities, as failure to do so can be extremely costly. If you have questions about your FMLA rights and/or responsibilities, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced Atlanta FMLA lawyer to get the knowledgeable answers you need.

Late last month, we looked at an 11th Circuit Court of Appeals case of a South Florida writer and producer and some of the details regarding the law of “associational discrimination.” In the context of the Americans With Disabilities Act, associational discrimination occurs when your employer discriminates against you because you are “associated” with “someone who has significant medical needs” and for whom you “may need to provide care.”

The producer’s case is noteworthy for more than just the illumination it shone on associational discrimination, however. It also serves as an important reminder about the mechanics of the procedural requirements imposed by the FMLA.

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The law imposes on employers numerous requirements when it comes to the Family and Medical Leave Act. Employers would be wise to ensure they have established clear procedures for allowing workers to seek leave, and then carefully document those requests. Workers, similarly, should take care to follow their employers’ established procedures for requesting FMLA leave, as a failure to follow those steps may be harmful to a future FMLA lawsuit. For answers to your FMLA questions, be sure you are consulting with a knowledgeable Atlanta FMLA leave lawyer.

In terms of following leave request procedures, an FMLA interference case from Gwinnett County is instructive.

The worker, I.K., was a store manager at a warehouse club store in Duluth when, in 2018, she became pregnant and had a baby. In the fall of that same year, she injured her back while moving a pallet of merchandise.

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The Family and Medical Leave Act — enacted 30 years ago — represents an important benefit to workers. The law allows you to tend to essential personal and family matters without fear that your employer will fire you while you’re gone. Whether you’re a worker who has encountered this type of illegal conduct or an employer seeking to ensure full FMLA compliance, it is wise to get knowledgeable answers from an experienced Atlanta FMLA lawyer to all your questions.

With the FMLA, one of the more technical compliance issues regards how an employer should calculate the duration of a worker’s leave. Miscalculations can cost workers valuable time off from work and can cost an employer in terms of fines or other punishments for engaging in illegal conduct.

When calculating the duration of an FMLA leave, employers and employees can look to the law, to the applicable regulations, and also to FMLA-related “opinion letters” the U.S. Department of Labor issues, one of which came down just a few weeks ago.

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When your employer illegally interferes with your rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or retaliates against you for invoking those rights, you may be entitled to seek a civil judgment and recover compensation based on those violations. Winning an FMLA interference claim or FMLA retaliation claim requires a lot of things, including in-depth knowledge of the law, proper awareness of (and compliance with) all the rules of procedure, and excellent skill at making the necessary allegations and arguments to get your case past your employer’s motion for summary judgment or motion to dismiss. In other words, the best chance of success lies in retaining a skilled Atlanta FMLA lawyer.

A recent FMLA ruling by the federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeal (whose rulings control federal cases in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama,) highlights the profound risks (and high-stakes downsides) that can come with taking on your case without counsel.

S.N. worked for a cancer treatment center. Sometime before October 2019, S.N. allegedly sought (and the employer approved) a period of FMLA leave. The employer subsequently terminated S.N.’s employment, according to her federal court complaint.

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The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) grants important rights to many workers across the country. The statute also erects some specific obligations on both workers and employers. A worker’s failure to meet their obligations can result in a loss of eligibility for leave, while an employer’s failure to follow the rules can come with a substantial cost, as well. Whether you’re on the employer side or worker side, it pays to ensure that you are following the FMLA’s rules with precision, and a knowledgeable Atlanta FMLA leave lawyer can help you do exactly that.

Recently, a Georgia employer’s failure to meet its FMLA obligations came with the cost of a U.S. Department of Labor investigation and a payment of $67,140 to one of its workers.

The worker was a dock supervisor at a logistics company’s Covington facility. As he prepared for the arrival of his new child in the Spring of 2022, the supervisor submitted a request to take FMLA leave to bond with his new baby and to care for his ill spouse.

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In today’s world of smart devices, 5G wireless, and other technological advances, employers and employees are communicating in more ways than ever. Gone are the days when all employer-employee communications take place via face-to-face, writing, or telephone line. This modern reality also may have an impact on your Family and Medical Leave Act case, especially if your employer tries to oppose your submission of notice based on the media you used, not the content of the communication. As with all FMLA cases, the issues in your case may be intricate and complex, so you should not hesitate in retaining an experienced Atlanta FMLA lawyer.

In terms of modern media platforms and FMLA notice, the most recent case comes to us from West Virginia.

The employee, K.R., was an assembly line worker for an auto parts manufacturer. In June 2019, K.R. required an emergency appendectomy. K.R. sent his supervisor a communication explaining his situation via Facebook Messenger, which he and his supervisor earlier had used to discuss a previous illness that forced K.R. to miss work.

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