Have You Been Laid Off or Terminated After a Leave of Absence?

A Modesto FMLA Lawyer From Our Firm Can Protect Your Future

There are moments in life that you cannot miss or are otherwise unavoidable: You might be expecting a child or have had your life interrupted by an injury or other big change that requires you to take a leave of absence. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for employees to face unfair discrimination or harassment after taking a valid leave of absence. However, there are legal protections in place for California workers who must take time off from work to take care of a sick family member or tend to a medical condition that impacts their personal health. If you are facing hostility at the workplace after taking a medical leave of absence, or if you were terminated prior to returning from your leave of absence, a Modesto FMLA lawyer from our firm can help.

We believe no employee should face unlawful and unethical retaliation after taking a necessary leave of absence. The employment attorneys at Arata, Swingle, Van Egmond & Heitlinger have helped people with leave of absence claims for decades. Our firm utilizes reliable legal strategies that can help strengthen your claim and protect your future. We are committed to providing quality legal representation and superior service to each of our valued clients. From start to finish, our firm is by your side, protecting your best interests.

What Is the Family and Medical Leave Act?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is the federal law that provides workers with the right to take medical leave. In California, additionally to the FMLA, there is the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). Both the FMLA and CFRA authorize eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. You may be eligible to take leave if you are suffering from a physical or mental medical condition or if a family member is suffering from a medical condition. You may also be eligible for medical leave for the birth or adoption of a child.

If you have been discriminated against after taking a leave of absence, some legal remedies available to you are:

  • Reinstatement of Position: The FMLA and CFRA exist to protect workers. If your leave of absence is valid, then a Modesto FMLA lawyer can help you with measures to reinstate your position if it has been changed or terminated as a retaliation for the absence.
  • Damages for Lost Wages: You can easily lose wages due to illegal retaliation after a valid leave of absence. For example, if you lost pay or benefits and your absence was valid, an experienced employment attorney can help you list damages and pursue compensation to cover any wages or benefits lost.
  • Setting a Precedent for Future Employers: An attorney can help you recover after a leave of absence. However, your claim can do more than bring justice to your situation. An experienced employment law firm can help set an example for the future, deterring illegal behavior from other employers.

Can You Be Fired During a Leave of Absence?

Generally, your employer cannot fire you if you take a leave of absence for a valid reason. These reasons can be found in a list by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (CDFEH). Valid reasons involve anything protected under the FMLA or the CFRA. In most cases, employers will not be obligated to pay you during your leave of absence. However, you may be entitled to accrued paid leave and/or vacation time in certain circumstances.

Typically, an employee cannot fire you after a leave of absence unless:

  • Layoffs: A company-wide layoff affects everyone. You may not be protected if your employer initiated company-wide layoffs while you were on leave.
  • Abandonment: You must give notice if you plan on being absent from work. Since this is the case, you can be legally terminated if you did not give proper notice of your leave of absence.
  • Small Company: While the FMLA and CFRA offer protections to employees, they do not apply to smaller companies. For example, if your employer has less than 50 employees, the CFRA and FMLA laws will not cover your leave of absence.  However, other laws may protect your leave.

Is Your Leave of Absence Being Contested by an Employer? Call for a Free Consultation

Have you been subjected to harassment or retaliation in the workplace after a valid leave of absence? California employment law exists to protect workers in these situations. The longer you wait to contact a Modesto FMLA lawyer, the harder it can be to mitigate risk and defend your claim.

At Arata, Swingle, Van Egmond & Heitlinger, we know what it takes to strengthen a medical leave claim in California. For decades, we have helped clients pursue recovery for their losses and protect their livelihoods. To find out how our firm can help, contact us online or call our firm at (209)522-2211 to schedule a free consultation. Let us put our experience to work for you.