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FMLA prohibits job loss or retaliation when taking medical leave

The Family Medical Leave Act requires certain employers in California to accommodate requests for time off when workers have bad health problems, need to care for ailing family members, give birth or adopt a child. Employees who use leave for legitimate reasons have a right to return to their jobs and not be subject to discipline or poor job reviews because they took time off.

FMLA protections apply to people whose employers have 50 or more employees within 75 miles of their work sites. Before people can request a leave, they need to work at the organization for at least 12 months. Their job status must be full time, which requires working a minimum of 1,250 hours during the 12-month period preceding the request.

Except for childbirth and adoption, workers or their close relatives need to have serious health conditions to qualify for family medical leave. According to the law, serious health conditions can be physical or mental issues that require hospitalization or ongoing medical care. The problem must prevent a person from going to work for a minimum of three consecutive days and require additional medical evaluation for 30 days. FMLA provides protection from job loss on leaves up to 12 weeks.

Although the law includes protection for retaliation, employers at times punish people for taking family medical leave. A person who suddenly gets bad reviews after returning from leave or is dismissed might have been the victim of illegal conduct. A consultation with an attorney may inform the person if legal action should be taken against an employer. An attorney might begin by contacting the employer and trying to broker a fair resolution. If initial contact does not correct the problem, then an attorney might recommend filing a lawsuit to pursue damages for lost income.

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