Federal and state laws give workers protected time off. If you want to take some of this time, you will need to follow proper policies and make your request. If your employer terminates you for taking the protected time off from work, you have legal rights and protections. When you make use of available resources, you can file a claim against your employer for wrongful termination and recover compensation for the damages you suffered because of the job loss.
If you have been wrongfully terminated, you will have lost wages and lost benefits. You will want to make sure you maintain supporting evidence and documentation so you can make sure that you can prove what happened and how it happened. You need to gather everything that you can to support your claim and to prove what happened and how it happened. You must prove that you were mistreated and that laws were violated.
What Types Of Protected Leaves Are Covered?
There are different kinds of protected leave available to workers. These leaves do have specific criteria and requirements in order to be made available to workers and for the protections to be in place. Here is a closer look at some of the protected leaves made available to workers:
- The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) applies to employers who have 50 or more workers. The company cannot fire eligible employees for taking as many as 12 weeks of leave each year for certain allowable reasons, which include the serious illness of themselves or immediate family members, the birth or bonding with a new child, and to care for a family member who has been injured while on military duty.
- State laws are also enacted in most states. States have their own family and medical leave laws that give the right to workers to have protected time off because of pregnancy, parenting matters, or because of illness. Most states also prohibit employers from firing workers who take time off for jury duty or who take time off to go to vote.
You should familiarize yourself with the federal and state laws that apply to your situation. Make sure you understand the proper processes and procedures so you can make your formal request for leave. Sometimes you may not be able to request leave well in advance, so you will need to make sure you notify your employer as quickly as possible. As an example, serious illnesses or injuries are unexpected, so you cannot give your employer a week or more notice of requiring time off.
If You Were Fired For Taking Protected Time Off, What Should You Do?
If you have taken time off that was protected, such as for your illness or to care for a sick family member and your employer terminated you, you will need to gather as much evidence and supporting documentation as possible. Maintain copies of documentation, such as medical excuses and copies of any requests for leave. You should also have your employee handbook and any employment contract. You should maintain proof of your termination from your employer.
You should check to see if your company has a pattern of doing this. Coworkers and former employees will be able to back this up and determine if this is an ongoing problem. You will need to prove that your firing was because of you going on protected leave. If your employer denied your protected leave and you spoke up, then you were fired because you spoke up, you should be sure to note that and make sure you maintain all the supporting documentation and evidence you can gather. Also, be sure to get statements from any witnesses.
How An Employment Law Attorney Can Help
If you were terminated because you took protected time off, you should speak with an employment law lawyer as soon as possible. There are multiple benefits to working with an attorney. Your lawyer will help you build your case and gather supporting evidence and documentation. Your attorney will also work to resolve the matter with your employer.
An attorney is experienced in negotiating claims and is familiar with the federal and state laws that apply. Your lawyer will gather the supporting evidence needed should your case advance to court. Some employment law attorneys require a retainer to be paid upfront while others take cases on a contingency basis and will not be paid until you win your claim. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page today.