Your employer has the obligation to make sure that the workplace gives all applicants and employees the same opportunities and that everyone is treated fairly and equally. If you think that you are not getting the same opportunities and treatment because of a situation involving the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you should start gathering supporting documentation and evidence so you can build your claim against your employer right away. There are many ways discrimination can occur, and sometimes it is more discreet than others.
You should be attentive, and if you see a pattern of behavior, then acknowledge there is a problem. You should speak with a manager or with human resources right away and ask them to address the issue.
Your employer has a responsibility to provide you with a welcoming workplace where you can be productive. Discrimination can definitely have a negative impact on your productivity and can affect your mental and emotional state.
Discrimination Comes in Many Forms
There are many ways discrimination can take place. It could be jokes, comments, promotion denials, switching you to an undesirable work shift, demoting you for no legitimate reason.
You will need to be attentive to the situation and take care to document everything. Gathering evidence is essential to the success of your case. When you file a claim, you do not only recover your damages you are also helping protect others from the same behavior by that employer in the future.
As an example, you may have taken FMLA because of the birth of a child. Your manager made derogatory comments about the number of children you have, or you became the butt of jokes about people who have too many children or they may say all your paycheck goes for is buying diapers. When the joking continues and gets out of hand, then it has turned into discrimination or harassment.
Another example would be that you return to work and they switch you to an undesirable night shift and make the comment that the change was made so you could spend more time with your child during the day and not have to get up for all the bottles and diaper changes. If you took leave to care for an elderly parent, you could be subjected to discrimination because your manager may comment that you have siblings who could do the job and you need to stay at work if you want to get a promotion soon.
Evidence to Gather
You should gather all supporting evidence and documentation for your claim. Any physical or digital communications, such as text messages or emails should be retained and printed.
Get statements from any witnesses who may have seen the discriminatory behavior or from others who may have experienced the same treatment and discrimination. You will want to work to establish a history of behavior so you can prove that your employer has done this before, and that they will most likely do this again.
Keep track of any complaints that you have brought to the attention of human resources or to a supervisor or manager. You will need to maintain documentation proving that you mentioned it to them or filed a complaint internally in the company.
You will also need to make note of how they responded. Did they take your claim seriously? What was said? What action did they take?
Get an Expert on Your Side
Discrimination claims can be challenging. If your discrimination involves the FMLA, multiple laws may have been broken. An employment law attorney will be familiar with the state and federal laws that apply to your specific situation and will know the best way to proceed with your claim and will work to gather supporting evidence and documentation.
Time to pursue a claim against an employer for FMLA discrimination is limited, so you will want to make sure you get your claim underway in a timely manner. If you wait too long, you cannot recoup compensation for your damages.
When you meet with an employment law attorney, discuss the details regarding your case and, also talk about their payment plans. Some attorneys require a retainer to be paid upfront while others work solely on a contingency basis.
Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form to share the details surrounding your claim to ensure your discrimination case is handled in a timely manner and that you get your claim underway before time runs out. There are laws in place to protect you and resources available to help you.