The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) creates the right for individuals to take a leave of absence due to serious illness or injury of the employee or family member, childbirth or adoption without the fear of losing their job — and protects you from retaliation from your employer if you exercise or attempt to exercise your rights to protected leave. It is unlawful for any employer to take adverse action against you or retaliate against you for filing for FMLA protected leave.
Do you feel you have been the victim of FMLA retaliation? Here are some examples of how employers have retaliated against employees for taking FMLA leave. If you think you’ve been retaliated against, contact an employee rights attorney to represent your case.
Examples of FMLA Retaliation
Disciplining an Employee for Taking Leave
Did your employer give you a bad review because of work that wasn’t completed during your time off? Did they count that time off against you? These ‘subtle’ forms of discipline are examples of FMLA retaliation. Employers may utilize this discipline as a precursor to a potential wrongful termination.
Firing an Employee for Taking Leave
A particularly egregious example of retaliation is getting fired for taking FMLA for family or medical leave. If you took leave which is protected under the Family and Medical Leave Act to have a baby or take care of a loved one due to a medical need and you were fired, you may have a case and should seek legal advice immediately.
Reinstating an Employee to a Lesser Position
Some employers may retaliate by giving you a different position with lesser responsibilities when you return to work. For example, if you were a department supervisor at a retail store prior to going on FMLA leave, and return and have been demoted to a sales associate or cashier, this could be considered retaliation. Be sure to ask your supervisor the reason for your demotion and keep any emails, documentation or other written correspondence for your records. Also, keep a journal of any meetings or verbal conversations with your supervisor as this can help build your case should you have one.
Reduction in Pay or Benefits
Under federal law, you are entitled to the same pay and benefits you received prior to your family or medical leave. Make sure to review your paycheck and benefits after you come back to confirm everything is equivalent. If you have seen a reduction, this may support a claim of FMLA retaliation.
Assigning Work Not Relevant to Job Prior to FMLA Leave
Sometimes, FMLA retaliation will come in the form of assignment of additional duties or a different a work situation altogether. For example, an employer may incorporate heavy lifting of products 50 pounds or more as a regular duty when you didn’t do that before. They might also make you stand up for all or most of your eight-hour shift when you had a position at a desk before the FMLA leave.
Retaliation against an employee for taking time off under the Family & Medical Leave Act is against the law. Employers that retaliate against you for exercising your rights protected by Federal law should be stopped and held responsible for their actions.
Contact an Employment & Labor Law Attorney
If any of these FMLA retaliation examples have happened to you, contact Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A. Our team of professional employment law attorneys can answer any of your questions and help you decide the best course of action.
We provide free, confidential consultations and work hard each day to fight for the rights of employees. Keep all documentation of potential retaliation — from disciplinary notices to emails or letters of termination. If a claim is filed against your employer, this will strengthen your case and help bring your employer to justice.