Employees at times need to take leave to tend to certain emergencies, whether health-related or family-related. These emergencies should not be grounds for termination, but employers often ignore the laws and regulations that dictate fairness and equality. Sickness, disability, and other issues can come up, but instead of protection, you may be met with discrimination and illegal termination. It is important that you familiarize yourself with the State and Federal laws that prevent you from being illegally fired. If you find that you were discriminated against, fired, or let go after going on sick or caretaking leave, contact the California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group. We have handled numerous claims from workers who were terminated due to taking leave. Our firm fields questions all day from concerned workers; some examples of these questions are:
- Can you be fired or demoted because you took a leave to take care of a sick family member?
- Can you get fired or demoted because you took a leave to take care of a loved one?
- What do I do if I was fired or demoted because I took leave to take care of my wife?
- What do I do if I was fired or demoted because I took leave to take care of my husband?
- What do I do if I was fired or demoted because I took leave to take care of my child?
- Can you get fired or demoted because you took a leave to take care of grandparents?
Family and Medical Leave Act Information
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a Federal act that protects employees in the event they need to take leave. It applies to businesses that have 50 or more employees. Employees are protected if they have worked for the company for 1 year and have amassed at least 1,250 hours worked. Bear in mind that the act only allows you to return to your job and not receive paid leave. You are given 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a calendar year. You can utilize the FMLA to take leave for the following reasons:
- Bonding and caretaking of a newborn child
- To tend to a serious health condition
- To tend to a family member with a serious health condition
The law defines a serious health condition as something that:
- Requires inpatient treatment at a hospital or other medical facility
- Requires incapacity and inability to leave a medical facility for more than 3 days
- Involves pregnancy or pre-natal care
- Requires ongoing treatment for a chronic health condition
- Features incapacity for a long-term illness in which treatment is ineffective, such as terminal diseases
- Needs multiple treatments for plastic surgery, restorative surgery, repair, and more, or for a condition that would result in an absence of 3 days or more if not addressed
In addition to the FMLA, there is also the California Family Rights Act and the Paid Family Leave program. These are slightly more specific in their protections and can allow workers to still maintain protection under a State regulation.
If you need to take leave, you must give your employer the valid reason – a serious health condition, new child, or need to take care of a family member has come up. A 30 day notice is mandated, but in times of emergency, this is waived and you must tell your employer as quickly as you can. You must also provide your employer with a doctor’s note or proof of treatment if it is requested.
Your employer must grant you leave if you meet any of the aforementioned qualifications. Some examples of how your employer can violate the FMLA can be found below:
- Penalize you or punish you in some way for requesting leave
- Deny your reasonable request for leave or request that you do something to make up for it
- Harass you or mistreat you for taking leave
- Claim that your job position will no longer be available when you return from leave (it is legal for your employer to replace you, but you must have an equal position available when you return)
- Fire you altogether from taking or requesting leave
- Cease paying your health insurance coverage while you are on leave
Your employer can face heavy fines and punishment if there is an FMLA violation. In addition, you could take legal action and pursue adequate damages.
How to Sue for Wrongful Termination for Taking Leave
We are often subjected to various concerns from employees. Some of the most common questions and issues we receive include:
- I took leave to take care of my son after surgery, then I was fired
- I took time off work to take care of my daughter after cancer and then I was fired
- I took leave to take care of my father after chemo, then I was terminated
- I left work to take care of my mother after a car accident, then I was let go
- I took time away from work to take care of my wife after an injury, then I was laid off
- I requested leave from my job to take care of my husband after a workplace injury, then I was fired
If you wish to file a wrongful termination claim against your employer after being fired for taking medical leave or caretaking leave, you will need evidence on your side.
You should provide proof that you requested leave and that you needed to take leave in the first place. Emails to HR, memos to your boss, and more should all be provided, as well as any medical receipts, doctor’s notes, or other documents.
You should be sure to gather any photos, documents, videos, and recordings showing that there was an intention to fire you after your quested leave. This can be hard to get in some situations; for example, video footage from security cameras may not be readily handed over to you because the company knows it can damage their credibility.
If there were other workers who saw the mistreatment or who knew that you were illegally fired, you can request their statements and testimonies for your claim. Sometimes it is difficult to get these statements, though, as coworkers do not want to involve themselves in legal claims. They may feel like they will be retaliated against or punished if they support you and not the company.
Upon getting your proof, you should reach out to an employment lawyer with experience in wrongful termination claims. If you try to move forward with a claim by yourself, you may not succeed – the law is confusing and unforgiving, and if you do not know it inside and out, you will be at a disadvantage. You also may be too ill or have other responsibilities that make it difficult or impossible for you to spend time on a claim. Therefore, hiring our attorneys benefits you in multiple ways.
Statute of Limitations to File a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit
In California, wrongfully terminated employees have 2 years from the date of the termination to file a claim seeking compensation. If you do not file a lawsuit within this statute of limitations, you will not be able to pursue any restitution in the future. The statute of limitations lets both parties have ample time to build a case against the other or to properly defend themselves.
Often, individuals fail to get the compensation they need because they are unaware of how long the statute of limitations is. They end up with no evidence or too much evidence to gather with not enough time to submit it. If you come to our firm, we guarantee that we will not miss any deadlines and will ensure that your claim is submitted on time.
Compensation From a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit
A wrongful termination lawsuit that stems from leave violation can result in a fair amount of compensation. We will strive to ensure that you are fully covered for your damages, including:
- Reimbursement of lost wages from the past and future
- Payment for benefits and insurance that were cut off
- Reinstatement into your old position
- Policy changes at your company
- Pain and suffering damages to account for emotional turmoil and mental scarring
We will not stop until we are satisfied that you have received a full and maximum settlement for your losses.
Our Firm’s Promise
The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group promises to work around the clock to bring you every penny you deserve if you were wrongfully fired for taking medical leave. Our team of lawyers is highly skilled and promises to dedicate all of our resources and efforts into securing you a fair settlement. We have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in restitution for our clients over the years and we know the best tactics for success.
For a free and private legal consultation, call our law offices today. We can discuss your case and tell you what we believe its value is, and you won’t have to worry about any of your personal details being shared elsewhere. We will also give you our zero fee guarantee if you hire us for your case. This means we don’t get paid unless and until we win and the money will come from the settlement from your company. If we lose, we get nothing at all.
If you were fired for taking medical leave or caretaking leave, get in touch with the California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group.