You are a dedicated employee. You want to work. All you need is some time off to handle a medical issue. Your employer will not cooperate. Don't be bullied. You have strong rights pertaining to leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, and the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act.
When you have issues at work in Connecticut pertaining to medical leave, you need the help of a Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act lawyer. It is important to know your rights, and where to find the details when you need them. You need to be proactive, and take steps to protect yourself before it is too late. Unfortunately, human resources offices are of little help. Their main function is to protect the employer, and not you. Don't get left out by failing to get the Family and Medical Leave advice you need from Connecticut employment law lawyer.
Where do your family and medical leave (FMLA) rights come from?
In Connecticut, your rights to Family and Medical Leave are protected by two major pieces of legislation. First, and foremost you are protected by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). This is federal legislation passed by Congress in 1993 and signed into law by President Clinton. Therefore, it is applicable all over the United States. Second, in Connecticut you are also protected by Connecticut's Family and Medical Leave Act (CFMLA). While the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act is even broader than the federal act by providing for more leave (16 vs 12 weeks), the federal FMLA is a far more powerful weapon for the employee. Therefore, if your employer is in Connecticut you are protected by both acts, which is great.
What are your rights under FMLA in Connecticut.
Generally, you have the right to take time off from work to care for your own medical condition, or for a family member. In Connecticut, under the Connecticut FMLA you can take up to 16 weeks over a 24 month period. Most cases involve taking time off due to your own medical condition. Keep in mind that this is unpaid time off. Generally, in Connecticut you have the right to take 16 weeks of medical leave:
1. To care for your serious medical condition, or if you are a bone marrow or organ donor;
2. To care for a family member's medical condition;
3. Upon the birth or adoption of a child by an employee, or placement in foster care with the employee.
4. Upon a qualifying event when you or family member is in the military services.
Now, keep in mind that FMLA rules apply to large employers of 50 or more, and for the Connecticut FMLA the employer must be even larger; 75 employees.
Also, you must have worked for your employer for at least 1 year, and have worked at least 1000 hours to qualify for Connecticut FMLA, a little more for federal FMLA.
Your important right to take leave intermittently.
You can take FMLA leave intermittently. You don't have to take all of your FMLA time off in one large block of time. This is a very important right because it allows you some flexibility depending upon your situation. For example, if you have a medical condition that flairs up periodically, or if you have to visit your doctor periodically, then intermittent medical leave is perfect. More importantly, intermittent FMLA allows you to continue to receive a paycheck since you will be working for most of the workweek.
Your employer cannot retaliate against you for taking FMLA. This means your employer cannot fire you, or otherwise penalize you if you take medical leave. Most cases we handle are cases involving someone who took FMLA, and who was thereafter fired in retaliation for exercising their rights under The Family and Medical Leave Act.
What are the remedies in a FMLA case?
In a Connecticut FMLA case, under the Federal FMLA, you can sue for:
- Lost past wages called back pay;
- Lost future wages called front pay;
- Reinstatement of your position;
- Attorneys's fees and the cost of litigation;
- Liquidated damages under the federal FMLA;
- Punitive damages, under rare circumstances.
Under the State of Connecticut FMLA the matter starts with the Department of Labor followed by an appeal to the Superior Court. The remedies include back wages, and other remedies, but are simply not as effective or as powerful for a plaintiff than the remedies available under the federal FMLA.
Where to find help.
If you believe that you have been fired in retaliation for exercising your rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act, please feel free to contact the Connecticut employment lawyers at The Bartinik Law Firm LLC. Our law office is in Groton, Connecticut, and we handle cases throughout Connecticut. Call 860-445-8521.