Knoxville Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Attorneys
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that gives employees the right to take unpaid leave from work in certain circumstances to care for immediate family members or themselves. Although employees may be within their rights to take leave under the FMLA and reinforce those rights with an experienced Knoxville employment attorney’s help, employers often attempt to persuade employees not to take leave or otherwise refuse to comply with the FMLA. Employers have been known to even retaliate or punish employees who exercise their rights under this law.
It is illegal for your employer to refuse a valid request for leave under this law. It is also illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for requesting to take leave under the law. This law applies to employees who need the time for personal health reasons, or for choosing to take leave to care for their loved ones.
If your employer denies your valid request under the FMLA or retaliates against you for making a valid request under the FMLA, a Knoxville Family Medical Leave Act lawyer from our firm could fight on your behalf. We have handled many cases involving improper denials and illegal retaliation under the FMLA.
Qualified Employees Under the FMLA
The FMLA details the particular circumstances under which an employee is qualified to take a legally permissible medical or family leave of absence from their job. Not all employees are entitled to take leave under the FMLA.
To be considered a qualified employee for purposes of the FMLA, you must meet three basic requirements:
- You must have worked for your employer for at least twelve months
- You must have worked at least 1,250 hours within the last twelve months
- Your employer must have at least fifty employees within a seventy-five-mile radius of the employee’s workplace, or be a public agency or elementary or secondary school with any number of employees
The FMLA allows qualified employees to take a maximum of twelve weeks of unpaid leave every year. In addition, you are entitled to continue to receive group medical benefits during FMLA leave free of discrimination. One of our seasoned Knoxville FMLA attorneys could advise you about whether or not you are entitled to take leave based on your circumstances.
Rights Under the FMLA
It is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against you for asserting your rights under the FMLA. Retaliation occurs when an employer takes an “adverse employment action” against you for asserting your rights. “Adverse employment action” means any action by the employer that is likely to dissuade a reasonable worker from exercising their legal rights.
Illegal forms of retaliation may include:
- Being fired
- Being demoted
- Being forced to take less pay
- Being forced to take a new position which is less distinguished
- Diminished material job duties
- Imposing unwarranted disciplinary actions
- Using the fact you have taken FMLA in deciding promotions or other employment decisions
- Having your benefits or compensation decreased
Each case is going to depend on the specific facts. This is why it is important to discuss your case with an FMLA attorney in Knoxville who is experienced in dealing with these types of issues.
The FMLA gives qualified employees the right to take leave in the following circumstances: giving birth or caring for a newborn, caring for a child who has been newly adopted or placed in foster care, caring for a parent, child, or spouse suffering from a serious health condition, and when the employee themselves is not able to work due to a serious health condition.
After taking leave for any of these reasons, you should be able to return to work in a comparable position. If you are not given this opportunity guaranteed to you by the FMLA and state-level leave laws, a dedicated lawyer could help you decide what steps to take next in contesting this discrimination.
Tennessee Family Leave Act
The Tennessee Maternity Leave Act (TMLA) provides four months of unpaid leave to employees for the purposes of pregnancy, childbirth, adoption or nursing under Tennessee Code §4-21-408. Leave is available under the TMLA for employees who have worked full-time for their employer for the last twelve months, provided that the employer has at least one hundred employees at the employee’s job site. Although the TMLA is more restrictive than the FMLA in some respects and only covers parental leave, it is an additional protection available to employees who qualify.
Let one of our Knoxville FMLA Attorneys Help
The Employment and Consumer Law Group could offer you strong representation and help you assert your right to take a leave of absence from your work when you need it most. If you are experiencing discrimination associated with taking a leave of absence from work under the FMLA, call now to schedule a consultation with one of our seasoned Knoxville family medical leave act lawyers.