When employees get sick or hurt and need to take time off, employers may try to fire them. However, state and federal lawmakers have passed statutes to help employees keep their jobs when they get sick, and get back to work once they feel better.
Who is Protected?
Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), you have a right to take medical leave if you’ve worked for your employer for a year, and you’ve worked 1,250 hours- about 24 hours every week- in the last 12 months. Your employer must have 50 or more employees within 75 miles of your workplace, too.
What Kind of Leave is Protected?
You can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to treat your own serious medical condition, or to care for your child, spouse, or parent who has a serious medical condition. A “serious medical condition” is any condition that keeps you from working for 3 or more days.
How Do I Stay Protected?
Under California law, you don’t have to tell your employer embarrassing personal information, like a diagnosis. But you do have to answer general questions your employer asks, like when you will need to take leave, how long you will be out, and whether the leave is to care for yourself or someone else. If you know about your leave in advance, you need to tell your employer as soon as possible. And if your employer asks for a doctor’s note, you must provide a note that gives the date you got sick or hurt, the date your leave will start and end, and a statement that you can’t work.
What Happens When I Come Back to Work?
Once your leave is done, you have a right to be returned to your old position. If your employer has eliminated your old position, you have a right to be returned to a position with similar pay and benefits to your old position.
Did You Take Protected Leave and Get Punished?
If your employer fired you for taking protected leave, you need someone on your side to protect your rights. We encourage you to speak to an attorney with expertise on wrongful termination immediately! At California Civil Rights Law Group, our seasoned attorneys have extensive experience in representing employees who have been wronged. Call us so we can help you fight for your rights!
With offices in both Oakland and San Anselmo (Marin County), we’re convenient to the entire San Francisco Bay Area. Our employment law attorneys will listen to your situation, and provide professional guidance.