Family & Medical Leave Act Attorneys

The Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law designed to ensure that employees can take time off of work to deal with serious medical and family issues without worrying about losing their jobs. In the nearly 25 years the Act has been in effect, it has been a tremendous benefit to millions of workers. But it has its limitations.

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Family & Medical Leave Act

How Does the FMLA Help Employees?

In general, the FMLA allows employees in Texas and elsewhere in the U.S. to take up to 12-weeks of unpaid leave in any 12-month period if they cannot work because they have a serious medical condition, or if they need to care for an immediate family member with a serious medical condition. FMLA leave can also be taken for the birth or care of a newborn child of the employee, or for the placement of a child for adoption or foster care with the employee.

An employee can take a 12-week FMLA leave all at once, intermittently in separate blocks of time for a single qualifying condition or reason, or by reducing the employee’s regularly weekly or daily work schedule. The employee is required to make a reasonable effort to schedule medical treatment so as not to unnecessarily disrupt the employer’s operations.

Does the FMLA Protect Workers from Job Loss and Retaliation?

Perhaps the most important feature of the FMLA is the requirement it imposes on an employer to restore an employee returning from leave to his or her original job or an equivalent job. “Equivalent” means a job that is virtually identical to the original position in terms of pay, benefits, and other employment terms and conditions.

An employer is barred from firing or retaliating in any way against an employee for taking FMLA leave. Although retaliation can sometimes be hard to prove, an employee who brings a lawsuit under the law can recover significant damages, including:

  • Lost wages and benefits (economic damages)
  • Liquidated damages equal to twice the amount of economic damages, unless an employer can show he acted in good faith
  • Job reinstatement
  • Attorneys’ fees and costs

Does the FMLA Apply to All U.S. Employers?

The FMLA only affects employers with more than 50 employees, and is only available to employees who have worked for their employer for at least 12 months and who have worked at least 1,250 hours (around 24 hours a week) during those 12 months. Additionally, the employee must work at a location where his or her employer has at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.

An employer can require employees to obtain medical certification of their serious medical conditions from their healthcare providers. At their expense, an employer can also require employees to obtain a second medical opinion from another healthcare provider.

Talk to an FMLA Attorney

If you are entitled to leave under the FMLA, take it — with the reassurance that your job should be waiting for you when you come back. But if you feel that your rights under the FMLA been violated or denied, please call us to review your case.

The federal Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides important job-protection benefits for workers in Texas and across the U.S. who need time off to deal with serious medical issues. However, the law contains several provisions that limit the amount of leave time an employer must allow for its employees.

In general, FMLA-eligible employees can take up to 12-weeks of unpaid leave in any 12-month period if they cannot work because of a serious medical condition, need to care for a close relative with a serious medical condition, or for the birth or adoption of a child.  Those 12-weeks can be taken all at once, intermittently in blocks of time, or by means of a reduced daily or weekly work schedule as the condition or situation requires.

Employer FMLA Notification Requirement

But what if you’d rather take paid leave that you have earned and save those 12 FMLA weeks for later in the year? Can your employer start the clock on those 12 FMLA weeks during your paid leave?

The answer is yes, so long as your employer notifies you that they are doing so.

In other words, if you are taking paid vacation or sick time off for an FMLA-qualifying reason, then that time can count toward your 12-weeks of FMLA leave. Likewise, if you take time off to recover from a work-related illness or injury under a workers’ compensation program, that time could also count toward your 12 FMLA weeks.

However, your employer is required to tell you at the time you take paid or workers compensation leave that it is also considered FMLA leave. What if they don’t? Under FMLA regulations, an employer can try to retroactively designate that time as FMLA leave, but if you can somehow show you would be harmed by it, then they are barred from doing so.

Getting Help from an FMLA Lawyer

The FMLA does provide basic protections to employees dealing with family and medical issues. Depending on your employer’s policies and practices, however, it may very well not represent as much additional time off as you think it will. Know your rights, and if you think you’ve been treated unfairly, call us to review your case.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident regardless of where you live, we will be happy to evaluate your potential case through a free consultation.

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    Our Team is Here to Help

    Below is a list of some of the most-frequently-asked questions by our clients and prospective clients. If you still have any questions, feel free to contact us.

    • Why should I hire an attorney?

      Potential defendants are usually covered by insurance. The insurance companies are notified immediately when an accident occurs, and they usually hire attorneys and expert witnesses to investigate the claim. It is important that witnesses be interviewed as soon as possible and evidence be preserved. Witnesses will often be more difficult to locate or will have a poor memory if they are interviewed much later after the accident has occurred. Evidence such as machinery parts or skid marks on the highway will disappear unless preserved quickly. Insurance companies have insurance adjusters who will contact you and try to be friendly. You should not trust the statements that insurance adjusters make to you. They are not working for you and will sometimes make misleading statements in an effort to trick you into resolving your case. Insurance adjusters also might record your conversations with them and use your statements against you in order to try to save money for the insurance companies.

      The main thing we try to impress upon people is that it’s never too early to talk to an attorney, and it’s always too late. By that we mean that speaking with an attorney very soon after a crash or other accident in no way will harm you. Along the same lines, the longer you try to handle a claim on your own or delay hiring competent counsel, irreparable damage can be done in the form of recorded statements given to the insurance companies and evidence not being preserved. There is no risk or fee for speaking with an attorney and arranging an initial consultation.

    • How and when do I pay for a personal injury attorney?

      Most personal injury attorneys work on what is called a contingency fee basis, which means that you pay the attorney only if and when the attorney has successfully made a recovery in your case, either by settlement or by winning a jury trial. Our philosophy is that clients have enough to worry about, so clients at Glasheen, Valles & Inderman never pay us a dime out of their pockets directly; when you’re case is finished, the insurance company sends a check to our law firm, we take our percentage fee from that check, and send the remainder to the client.

      In the rare event we are unable to make a recovery on your case, you still don’t pay us a dime, and that even includes case costs, court costs, expert fees, and any advances. There is truly zero risk in hiring a personal injury law firm like Glasheen, Valles & Inderman.

    • What is my claim worth?

      Personal injury claims are usually resolved by either settlement or by a jury. When a case is settled, it is the client’s decision of whether or not to accept a settlement offer. The lawyer will advise the client as to the potential value of the claim. Lawyers evaluate the potential value of a claim by predicting what a jury would do based on experience with similar claims.A jury can consider all sorts of damages in a personal injury case including medical expenses in the past and in the future, loss of earnings in the past and in the future as a result of the injury, physical pain and mental anguish in the past and in the future, compensation for impairment – that is loss of use, and disfigurement damages. The jury has discretion in awarding the sums. We can give you advice on the value of your claim based on our experience with some of our claims and similar jury results.

    • How long will my claim take to resolve?

      The time it takes to resolve a personal injury claim depends very much on the type of case. We believe that it is important to prosecute claims as quickly and efficiently as possible. We usually like to have our client finish with their medical treatment so that we can fully and properly evaluate their injuries before we attempt to settle the claim. Sometimes we can assist a client with making advances to cover lost wages or living expenses while the client is waiting for the case to be resolved. Typically, automobile accident cases with fairly minor injuries can be resolved in about six months. More serious accident cases usually take anywhere from six months up to a year and a half or longer.

    • Will my case go to trial?

      Whether a case goes to trial depends on dozens of factors, including your damages, the amount of insurance available, and the circumstances of the case. However, generally speaking, approximately 98% of personal injury cases settle without going to trial.