35+ Years of Experience

For more than 35 years, Donati Law, PLLC has been handling employees' claims for retaliation and interference with rights guaranteed by the Family and Medical Leave Act. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles an employee to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave for an employee's own serious health condition or to care for specified family members with serious health conditions. Our Memphis FMLA attorneys can help you with your family and medical leave needs, no matter how complex your situation.

Call (901) 209-5500 to arrange an initial consultation.

What Is the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

There are a number of federal and state protections for employees, among them the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Enacted in 1993, this law guarantees 12 workweeks of unpaid leave every year to employees who meet specific requirements, without fear of losing their jobs. It is a complicated law, but the protections of the FMLA offer millions of workers the ability to take leave for medical and familial reasons.

If you work for a covered employer, they are required to provide you with leave for any of the following situations:

  • You cannot work because of a serious medical condition.
  • You must care for an immediate family member who has a serious medical condition.
  • You need time off for the birth and subsequent care of a new child.
  • You are adopting or fostering a new child, and need time to care for them.
  • A qualifying exigency that is due to the fact that you, your spouse, your child, or your parent is on active duty or has been called to active duty for the National Guard or Reserve to support a contingency operation.

The leave time that is allotted under the FMLA is unpaid, but the FMLA legally preserves the professional position of employees who need to take medical leave and maintains health insurance coverage during the leave period. The Family and Medical Leave Act essentially states that employees who leave their job for an extended period of time, for the purpose of caring for themselves or a family member, cannot be terminated or denied insurance benefits because they took leave.

Who Is Eligible?

FMLA is only available to employees who work for an employer that employs 50 or more employees for each working day during 20 or more calendar workweeks within a 75-mile radius. The employee must also meet certain requirements, such as the employee must have been employed for at least 12 months when the date of leave begins and must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the last 12-month period immediately prior to taking leave.

The law does not provide protections for part-time workers or employees of small companies and also excludes those who take time off to care for pets, those with short-term ailments, or elderly relatives who are not their parents. The FMLA excludes elected officials as well.

FMLA protections are generally reserved for immediate family members (spouses, parents, and children) only. The rights do expand if the ill or injured person is a service member. A service member’s next of kin can be eligible for FMLA protections in addition to their spouse, parents, and children, and leave time is expanded to 26 workweeks.

The question of whether an employee or an employee's qualifying family member is suffering a "serious health condition" is factually dependent. Upon being placed on notice, employers typically will require an employee to go through medical certification to have their FMLA approved. Once FMLA is approved and FMLA is taken, an employee must be reinstated to the same or equivalent position unless an exception applies. FMLA absences cannot be considered individually or with other events in an employee's personnel file as a basis for any adverse action.

How Does My Employer Determine the 12-Month Period?

There are several methods that are allowed under the FMLA to determine what a 12-month period is. These are:

  • The calendar year
  • A fixed “leave year” that uses a specific period, like the fiscal year or the employee’s work anniversary to make the year
  • A 12-month period beginning with the time the employee’s first FMLA leave begins
  • A 12-month period that counts backward from the date an employee’s first FMLA leave date

Learn More From Our Memphis FMLA Lawyers

Have you been denied FMLA leave when you believe you were entitled to leave? Let our Memphis employment law attorneys help you determine if you have a case. At Donati Law, PLLC, you will gain the benefits of having more than 100 years of combined experience on your side. Learn how we can help you fight for your rights.

If you have questions or concerns about your FMLA leave, reach out for immediate assistance.