The FMLA contains broad protections for workers across the United States. Although, there are FMLA statute of limitations that employees should be aware of if you have been subject to FMLA harassment or FMLA retaliation and are considering filing a complaint.
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides qualified workers 12 weeks of time off their job each year if they give birth to a baby or need to take care of a sick or injured loved one, or if the employee suffers from a serious health condition for which he/she requires leave. The law does not require employers to pay you, but you can utilize accrued vacation or personal time (in accordance with your company HR policies) to assist with your financial needs. The 12 weeks does not have to occur consecutively.
Generally speaking, an employee would be eligible for FMLA if their employer(and their satellite locations) has 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius of the employee worksite. Public sector employees are also typically covered, including city, county, state, and federal workers.
FMLA Violations & FMLA Statute of Limitations
When your family needs you, you should be able to be there. You should not be harassed or retaliated against at your job. Unfortunately, many employees do — and your financial security could end up in jeopardy. If your employer commits FMLA violations, you have a right to fight back.
According to federal law, the FMLA statute of limitations for filing a claim against your employer for a violation is two years. If an employment law attorney can prove that the FMLA violations were willful, then the law gives you three years to file a claim and start the process.
What are FMLA Harassment and FMLA Retaliation?
Employers will sometimes make it hard for you at work when you take time off under the FMLA – and take even more drastic measures. FMLA harassment and FMLA retaliation are both common reasons for filing cases. Here are some examples that could be considered FMLA violations:
- Your employer puts you on the “mommy track” or “daddy track” and denies you a promotion, specifically because you took time off to have a baby or care for the baby.
- Your employer instructs you to delay your requests or threatens to fire you because they need you at work.
- Your employer fires you because you had to take time off under the FMLA to take care of a very ill spouse or recuperate from your own serious health condition.
- Your employer demotes you when you come back from FMLA.
- Your employer gives you additional duties that are not part of your job description, such as additional physical labor like heavy lifting.
- Your employer, or others in the workplace, makes offensive comments after having had a baby and taking time off from work.
- Your employer makes it difficult to take “intermittent leave” by increasing your workload significantly so that it makes it difficult to complete within a specific time frame.
These are some of the examples that could be considered FMLA violations by the Department of Labor, the federal government division that administers employment law violations. All of these examples would be constrained by the FMLA statute of limitations.
Why is it Important to Know the FMLA Statute of Limitations?
The FMLA statute of limitations is important because it can greatly affect your career, family, and financial future. An employee rights attorney knows this all too well. Consider the potential difficulties and damages that can occur if you do not take action promptly if you have been the subject of an FMLA violation.
You could be dealing with serious financial consequences if you have been denied a promotion, demoted, or fired if you legally took time off under the FMLA. Think about the wages you could have earned if the violation did not occur. This can not only affect your career path and the earnings you make, but it also can greatly impact the financial well-being of your family for a long time to come.
In addition to financial consequences, there are often intense stressors placed on you and your family. A time of celebration, such as bringing a new baby into the world, can turn into a time of stress if you have been retaliated against or harassed at work.
Contact an Employee Rights Attorney for FMLA Violations
Contact us today to set up a free, confidential consultation. There are multiple steps in going through the process of filing a claim and holding your employer accountable. If you wait too long, the FMLA statute of limitations may run out.
Please Note: At the time this article was written, the information contained within it was current based on the prevailing law at the time. Laws and precedents are subject to change, so this information may not be up to date. Always speak with a law firm regarding any legal situation to get the most current information available.