The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) is a federal law that gives employees the right to take unpaid leave from their jobs for family or medical reasons. The Act also ensures that the individual’s job will still be there when they return from leave. The FMLA applies to companies that employ 50 or more workers within 75 miles of the workplace. In order to be eligible for FMLA leave, an employee must have been with the company for at least one year, and must have completed 1,250 hours of work for the company in the 12 months preceding the request for a leave.
Qualifying reasons for leave requests include the birth of a child, caring for a family member who is seriously ill or the employee’s own medical issues, bonding with a newly adopted child, and for issues arising from active military duty of a spouse, child or parent.
Sometimes employers do not comply with all aspects of the FMLA. This may take the form of retaliation against someone who requests a leave, refusal to reinstate an employee who returns from leave, interfering with a leave request, or outright denial of leave. If you are eligible for FMLA leave and have a qualified reason for your request that is not handled properly by your employer, you may have a case for compensation for any losses or damages you suffer as a result.
Types of Damages Available
Employees that bring claims against their employer for FMLA violations may be entitled to the following:
- Back pay – May be awarded if the actions of your employer caused you to lose wages, salary or any benefits. The amount will cover the period starting from your termination until the date the judgement is given by the court or jury.
- Front pay – Awarded from the date of the judgment to some point in the future if the wrongful actions by your employer will have a negative effect on your future earning potential. You could be awarded front pay for a year, for example, if that is the probable amount of time you need to find another job.
- Punitive damages and damages for emotional distress are not allowed under the FMLA. State laws vary on this issue so you should consult an experienced Philadelphia employment lawyer about your case regarding these kinds of damages.
- Liquidated damages – Awarded in addition to back pay or front pay. In a successful FMLA lawsuit they are awarded automatically unless the employer can prove that its actions were in good faith and with reasonable grounds that they believed they were not in violation of the FMLA. Liquidated damages are awarded in an amount equal to wages lost plus interest.
- Injunctive relief or court order – The court may order your employer to comply with the law – for instance by granting you your requested leave or giving you back your job.
- Reimbursement for legal fees – A fully litigated FMLA case can cost thousands of dollars in legal fees and these must be reimbursed if you win your case.
Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Advocate on Behalf of Those Wrongfully Terminated
If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated from your job, call the experienced Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. today at 215-569-1999 or contact us online. We are located in Center City Philadelphia serving clients throughout Pennsylvania and South Jersey.