who meets specific qualifying criteria to take as long as 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a 12-month timeframe. According to the laws, the requirements are for the individual to have worked 12 or more months for the employer and during that time have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours.
FMLA is allowed for certain reasons, and pregnancy and the birth or adoption of a child are among the approved reasons for taking leave.
This means that the leave can begin right at the time of – or right before – the birth of a child or it can take place during pregnancy – especially if there are complications being experienced by the mother.
Your employer can require you to ask for the leave in advance, which means ask you to give a notice before you take time off, but of course there can be some leeway with that.
Your employer must expect reasonable notice, and if you became suddenly ill and was ordered immediate bedrest then they cannot expect you to give them a two-week notice before your FMLA leave gets underway.
The leave should take place anytime within the first 12 months of the child’s birth, so if you want to start leave two weeks before the baby’s due date, that is acceptable as well. Of course, you will need to notify your employer of your pregnancy and let them know that you will intend to take leave near the time of the baby’s expected birth.
What Can I Do If I Was Denied?
If you were entitled to take FMLA while pregnant and your claim was denied, you do have rights. First, go over your supporting documentation and make sure you meet the requirements to qualify for FMLA. Ask these questions –
- Have you worked for your employer at least 12 months?
- Have you worked at least 1,250 hours during the last 12 months?
- Does your employer employee at least 50 people within a 75-mile radius of your worksite?
- Did you provide documentation that showed you are pregnant?
If you provided all those documents and supporting evidence, then you qualify for FMLA leave. When our request is denied, your employer must tell you why your request isn’t being approved.
If they are saying that you are missed important supporting documentation, then you will need to provide the information that they have requested so they can reconsider your request with all the details that they need in front of them.
If they denied your claim anyway – despite your eligibility – you can take legal action. You will need to file a formal complaint against your employer.
An employment law attorney can help you with the process. When you file a claim against them, you can ask for monetary damages for the losses and injuries that you suffered because of the wrongful actions of your employer. Here are some of the damages that you may be able to recoup compensation for through a claim for wrongful denial of an FMLA request:
Lost front pay – front pay refers to your wages, salary, and benefits you will lose in the future because of your employer’s actions
Lost back pay – back refers to your wages, salary, and benefits you lost because of your employer’s wrongful actions. This includes lost earnings from the date of termination or other actions of your employer to the date you get a judgment in your claim.
Emotional distress and punitive damages – you cannot recover compensation for mental anguish or emotional distress under the FMLA. You cannot be compensated for punitive damages either.
Liquidated damages – these are damages that are automatically awarded to the worker unless the employer successfully proves that he or she works in good faith.
If your employer can prove an honest mistake was made, you will not receive liquated damages.
Using An Employment Law Attorney
If you were wrongfully denied FMLA, you should consult with an employment law attorney who handles such claims in your area.
Employment law attorneys are familiar with state and federal laws, and your attorney will make sure your rights are protected and will look out for your best interests.
Your odds of a successful claim will increase greatly with a lawyer representing you.
When you speak with an attorney, they will go over their fees, but many lawyers take these cases on a contingency basis meaning that they will not be paid until you win your claim. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form today.