Medical Leave Retaliation Lawyers in Orange County
Your Job Should Not Be Impacted for Taking Medical Leave
According to the Family & Medical Leave Act, you are entitled to take unpaid leave from work to address medical concerns or family issues. This means that when you return to work, you should be able to resume your original position without any decrease in status or pay. Unfortunately, not all employers are willing to adhere to this rule. There are cases when an employer will find ways to punish employees for taking medical leave. Terminating their employment sometimes occurs, but many employers avoid this because they are aware of the consequences. Instead, they will find more subtle ways to retaliate.
If you feel like you are facing consequences for taking medical leave, contact Aegis Law Firm today. You can schedule a free consultation with our experienced medical leave retaliation attorneys in Orange County.
How to Recognize Retaliation
As mentioned above, employers will often try to hide the fact that they are retaliating against you for taking medical leave. You will have to point out how your job has been made worse after medical leave if you want to move forward with your claim. This is something we can help you with.
Examples of workplace retaliation include:
- Consistently questioning or discouraging your decision to take medical leave
- Comments that imply your status may change when you return from leave
- Requesting unreasonable evidence to prove that the medical leave is valid
- Cutting off health benefits while you are on leave
- Returning from work to find that your desk has been moved to a more inconvenient spot
- Denying you bonuses or opportunities for advancement
If you believe that you are the victim of retaliation, speak to coworkers that you trust. Try to find out if any superiors made comments about your medical leave. Proving retaliation is not always easy, but there is usually some evidence that can validate your claim.
Can You Be Fired for Using FMLA?
In short, no, you cannot be fired for taking family/medical leave—but you can be terminated after returning from leave or even while you are still on leave. Because California is an at-will state, employers can fire or let go employees for virtually any reason, except when it violates an employee’s rights. One of those rights is the right to take up to 12 weeks of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. This means that your employer cannot fire you specifically because you took your rightful leave under FMLA. Nor can your employer fire you because you have an illness or disability. However, your employer may terminate your employment for other, non-FMLA related reasons after you return or while you are still on leave.
Some legitimate reasons your employer may terminate you after or during your leave include:
- Position no longer exists due to layoffs
- Poor work performance/infractions prior to leave
- Violation of company policies
- Failure to comply with direct, legitimate orders
- Non-compliance with company’s absence/tardy policies
However, in order to terminate your employment while you are on leave or shortly after you return to work, your employer will need to prove that termination had nothing to do with the fact that you took FMLA, meaning they will likely need to establish that there was a clear pattern of misconduct or poor work performance prior to you taking leave and that this did not come to the employer’s attention until you were on leave, and/or that the employer would have terminated your employment even if you did not take leave. This is a very fine line, and some employers will attempt to cover up retaliation by falsely asserting that an employee’s firing was due to non-related reasons.
If you were fired or let go while on FMLA or shortly after returning from leave, we encourage you to speak to a FMLA retaliation lawyer about your situation. You may have grounds to bring a lawsuit against your employer for unlawful termination.
Put Your Case In Our Experienced Hands
At Aegis Law Firm, we focus exclusively on employment law. Our Orange County retaliation attorneys have been fighting for workers’ rights since 2003. We know how to build compelling cases that clearly demonstrate how our clients have been mistreated. You do not have to go through this alone.
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