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Four things to do at work before an upcoming surgery

Your surgery may qualify under Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Are you about to go through with an upcoming surgery? Then now is the time to get up to speed on your employee rights regarding the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

It’s important that both the employee and employer are communicating about the need for time off or “leave” before the date of a medical procedure. First, an employee must figure out if they are qualified to take FMLA leave, then it’s important to document leave with the employer.


Here’s what you should do at work before surgery:


1. Find out if you qualify for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave.

Employees who work for a private-sector employer that has 50+ employees within a 75 radius—who have been working there for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours—can take up to 12 weeks off in a 12-month period. This time is unpaid, and your employer may require you to use your vacation and paid time off time first.


2. Tell your employer, and give them medical documentation, such as a doctor’s note, if requested.

Given your right to confidentiality as a patient, it is not required that you expose the details of your surgery to your employer. However, it will be much easier to avoid misunderstandings if you inform your employer that you will be absent from work on a specified day. If you plan to take advantage of your right to leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), then your employer will need to know of your need for medical or family leave. The employer may request documentation to support your need for leave (and your ability to return to work) and it is very important to comply with proper requests within the specified time or you may lose your rights under the FMLA.


3. Even if you do not qualify for FMLA leave, you may be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Under the ADA, employees with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations. In this case, you might be entitled to a reasonable amount of time off for your surgery.


4. Call an attorney experienced in employment law.

Knowing your rights before your surgery date can give you peace of mind. And if you think your employer is violating the law, you may be entitled to remedies. It’s best to be certain before taking action or compromising your position with your employer.


Have you been denied rights under FMLA?


If you or someone you know has experienced retaliation in the workplace due to Family and Medical Leave, then you need an attorney you can trust. The employment law experts at Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A., advocate for the employee.


Contact us for workplace justice.

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