Leave and Reinstatement Rights
Do you need time off work to recover from a physical or mental injury? Are you seeking to take time off for the birth of a child? Do you need time to off work because a parent is suffering from a medical condition?
Houston employment lawyers Kalandra Wheeler, Robert J. Wiley, and Julie St. John represent workers who need time off work. A federal law called the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows workers to take up to twelve weeks of leave every year.
It is inevitable that at some point employees are forced to either care for a loved one or care for themselves in a manner that interferes with their jobs. The FMLA is flexible, allowing employees to take up to twelve full weeks off work, or smaller blocks of time.
FMLA leave can also be taken in small blocks, often called intermittent leave. For example, sometimes an employee is a few hours late to work because medication is causing morning sickness. FMLA leave can be used a few hours at a time to cover this tardiness.
The FMLA protects Houston employees who seek time off to:
- Care for their own serious medical condition.
- Care for a spouse, parent, or child.
- For the birth or adoption of a child.
- Fulfill military duties such as deployment.
To qualify for FMLA leave, most employees must meet three criteria:
- The employee must have worked for at least a year.
- The employee must have worked 1,250 hours or more in the previous twelve months.
- There must be 50 or more employees within 75-miles of your worksite.
There are several ways a Houston employer can violate the FMLA:
- A bakery tells a delivery driver that she cannot take time off to care for her mother who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. The FMLA provides time off work to care for a parent.
- A banker takes six weeks off work to undergo a hysterectomy. When she returns to work, she is assigned to a different position than when she went out on leave. The FMLA requires that an employee be returned to the same or equivalent position.
- A teacher tells her boss that she is pregnant and will need to take FMLA leave. Suddenly she is written up for the first time in her career and fired shortly thereafter. An employer cannot retaliate against an employee for taking FMLA leave.
- A secretary is having trouble adjusting to her HIV medication and is sometimes sick in the morning. Her boss writes her up for being late. FMLA intermittent leave can cover time when an employee must show up late or leave early.
- A father seeks to take twelve weeks off work for the birth of his second child. The employer tells him that’s too much time off, and that fathers don’t need as much time off work as mothers. The FMLA provides the same leave benefits to fathers and mothers.
- A call center employee with a back condition needs to lay down for fifteen minutes every two hours. His boss says if he takes more than two breaks per day he will be written up and fired. These fifteen minute breaks count as intermittent leave.
- A retailer tells a sales assistant to schedule her doctor’s appointments for days she is off work. The FMLA provides that leave can be used to go to medical appointments.
- A warehouse will not allow a forklift operator to return to work unless he can pass a physical exam. The FMLA strictly limits what tests or certifications an employee must provide before returning to work.
If you are having any difficulty taking leave, returning to work, or experiencing retaliation, do not hesitate to contact our law firm. Generally, you will meet with an attorney to discuss your matter. If we believe a violation of the law has occurred and if you decide to hire us, we will sign a representation agreement and enforce your rights.