Chicago FMLA Attorneys

The Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) requires that eligible employees receive 12 weeks of unpaid, protected leave for specific family or medical reasons.

Employee Leave Under the FMLA

Under the FMLA, employees may take up to 12 workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The birth of a son or daughter or placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care;
  • To care for a spouse, son, daughter, or parent who has a serious health condition;
  • For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job; or
  • For any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a military member on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status.

Employees Eligible under the FMLA

Only eligible employees are entitled to take FMLA leave. An employee is eligible to take FMLA leave if he or she has worked for a covered employer for at least 12 months and has worked at least 1,250 hours for the employer during the prior 12 months before taking leave.

Employers Covered by the FMLA

The FMLA generally only applies to private-sector employees who had 50 or more employees during 20 or more weeks either in the current year or the year before. Notably, the FMLA also applies to public agencies, including local, state, and federal government agencies, and public and private elementary and secondary schools regardless of the number of employees they employ.

Common FMLA Violations

Under the FMLA, an employer is prohibited from interfering, restraining, or denying the rights guaranteed by the Act. It is also unlawful for an employer to discharge or discriminate against any individual for opposing any practice, or because of involvement in any proceeding, related to the FMLA.

Examples of prohibited conduct include:

  • Refusing to authorize FMLA leave for an eligible employee;
  • Discouraging an employee from using FMLA leave;
  • Manipulating an employee’s work hours to avoid responsibilities under the FMLA;
  • Taking retaliatory action against an employee, including discharge, disciplinary action, or a failure to promote, or requesting or using FMLA leave.

Enforcing Your Rights under the FMLA

Unlike many other statutory employment cases, an employee may pursue a claim under the FMLA without first filing an administrative charge. Under the Act, an employee may recover lost wages, salary and compensation, interest, liquidated or “double” damages, injunctive and equitable relief, and their attorneys’ fees and costs.

If you are an Illinois employee who believes your FMLA rights may have been violated, contact the Nolan Law Office immediately to set up a free consultation.