Florida Injury and Employment Attorneys

Tampa Family Medical Leave Act Attorney | FMLA

 

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid but job-protected leave per year, during which group health benefits must be maintained. Unfortunately, employer retaliation against employees who take advantage of FMLA is a common occurrence in the work place.

If you have been a victim of FMLA retaliation, contact Florin Gray Bouzas Owens, LLC. Our Tampa employment law attorney can advise you on how to proceed and help ensure your rights are protected.

tampa fmla retaliation legal defense

Qualifying For The FMLA Leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that provides leave and job protection to employees that are qualified under the law. In order to be qualified for FMLA leave, an employee must:

  • Work for a covered employer (a private-sector employer with 50 or more employees, a public employer, or a public or private elementary or secondary school)
  • Have worked for the covered employer for at least 12 months
  • Have at least 1,250 hours of service for the employer during the 12 month period preceding the FMLA leave
  • Work at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within a 75 mile radius
  • A qualified employee may take FMLA leave (either for a block period or intermittently) for 12 work weeks in a 12 month period for the following reasons:
  • Birth of a child or placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care
  • For the employee’s serious health condition
  • To care for a spouse, child or parent that has a serious health condition
  • For any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a spouse, child or parent is in the military on covered active duty or called to covered active duty status

It is an unlawful employment practice for an employer to interfere with an employee’s FMLA rights. There are multiple ways in which an employer can interfere with an employee’s FMLA rights and numerous federal regulations that outline protections that many workers are unaware exist.

It is also illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for exercising their rights under the FMLA. Retaliation can take many forms, including: termination, demotion, reduction in hours and pay and other actions by an employer that could dissuade its employees from exercising their rights under the FMLA.

Defining FMLA Retaliation

Employers are prohibited under FMLA from interfering with, denying, or restraining an employee from exercising his or her FMLA rights and from terminating an employee in retaliation for taking FMLA leave or exercising FMLA rights.

Examples of FMLA retaliation include:

  • You are demoted when you return to work.
  • You are given a new position with less pay.
  • Your new position has requirements your old position did not have, such as working on your feet all day or lifting heavy objects.
  • You have lost seniority and must start over.
  • You are no longer eligible for a promotion, although you qualified before your leave.

Proving Retaliation in Florida

To prove FMLA retaliation in Florida, an employee must show that:

  • The employee is engaged in an activity protected under FMLA.
  • An adverse job action was taken against the employee.
  • A causal connection exists between the protected activity and the adverse job action.

Florida Statute of Limitations on FMLA claims

A statute of limitations is a time limit imposed by law. As stated by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the statute of limitations for a civil action under FMLA is two years after the last action the employee believes was in violation of FMLA, or three years if the violation was willful. The court will rule whether the violation occurred and whether it was willful.

Damages You Can Recover

If you win a lawsuit for FMLA retaliation, you will be entitled to receive money damages for losses and injures resulting from the wrongful actions of your employer. These damages may include:

  • Lost back pay: This refers to wages, salary, and benefits lost because of your employer’s wrongful actions, from the date of termination or other employer action to the date of judgment in your lawsuit.
  • Lost front pay: Front pay means wages, salary, and benefits you will lose in the future because of your employer’s actions, calculated from the date of judgment to some date in the future.
  • Compensatory damages for emotional pain and suffering.
  • Liquidated damages: These are amounts automatically awarded unless the employer can prove it acted in good faith. Liquidated damages are equal to the total amount awarded for front and back pay.
  • Attorney fees and costs: Most cases include the costs of attorney fees in the jury award or settlement.

Why Choose Florin Gray Bouzas Owens, LLC?

Our employment lawyers are passionate advocates for our clients, taking a hands-on approach to ensure they receive the representation they deserve. We have more than 100 years of experience representing clients in all matters of employment law. We offer a free initial consultation to determine whether you have a case before proceeding.

How a Lawyer can help your FMLA claim

When you return from FMLA leave, you are entitled to pay and benefits equal to what you had before you took leave. And although retaliation from employers is typically illegal, it can often be hard to argue your case without the help of experienced employment law attorneys. At Florin Gray Bouzas Owens, LLC, we can evaluate your circumstances to determine whether your employer has violated FMLA provisions and take the necessary steps to protect your rights.

Contact Florin Gray Bouzas Owens, LLC

Employees have rights under FMLA. Contact our Tampa Bay employment lawyers at Florin Gray Bouzas Owens, LLC if you believe your rights have been violated.

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