Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Our Columbus Ohio FMLA attorneys represent employees all over Ohio for claims of discrimination, interference and retaliation with an employee’s FMLA rights. We have successfully won several verdicts related to FMLA discrimination, retaliation and violations of FMLA rights. Our lawyers know the ins and outs of the FMLA and can evaluate your case today.  Give us a call or contact us.

The FMLA entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 work weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period for specified family and medical reasons, or for any “qualifying exigency” arising out of the fact that a covered military member is on active duty, or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty, in support of a contingency operation. The FMLA also allows eligible employees to take up to 26 workweeks of job-protected leave in a “single 12-month period” to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness.

It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate or retaliate against an employee for:

  • Requesting FMLA leave or FMLA paperwork for a potential leave;
  • Using Intermittent FMLA leave;
  • Using Continuous FMLA;

Any employee must be returned back to his or her position upon a return from FMLA leave.  If your employer denies your right to use FMLA leave or does not restore you to your former position upon your return from leave, your rights have been violated.  Contact your Ohio FMLA lawyers today.

What are the FMLA eligibility requirements?

Eligible individuals who are employed with a covered employer are entitled to take medical leave pursuant to the Family Medical Leave Act.

Employers are covered by the FMLA requirements if they employ at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius of the workplace within the preceding calendar year. However, this 50-employee minimum requirement does not extend to public agencies.

To be eligible to take FMLA leave, an employee must have worked no less than 1,250 hours for that employer during the 12 months prior to the start of the FMLA leave.  This includes hours the employee actually worked.  This does not include time spent on vacations, holidays, sick days, or other paid or unpaid time off work.

An eligible employee may request FMLA leave for any of the following reasons:

  • For the employee’s own serious health condition
  • To care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition
  • To care for a newborn child or to prepare for the birth of a child
  • For adoption or foster care placement of a child
  • To care for a family member who was injured while on activity military duty
  • To assist with transiting the employee, or the employee’s spouse, who is called to active military duty

An employee in need of FMLA leave need not specially mention the FMLA by name.  However, employees are required to provide their employer with sufficient information that would lead the employer to believe that the leave is FMLA-qualifying, and the anticipated duration of such leave.

If the need for leave is foreseeable, employees must provide notice at least 30 days in advance of the need for leave, if possible, or as soon as practicable if a 30-day notice is not possible.  If the need for leave is unforeseeable, the employee must notify the employer of the need as soon as practicable.  Employees must always follow their employer’s usual call-off policies and procedures even if the need for leave is FMLA-qualifying.

After an employee gives his or her employer notice of the need for FMLA-qualifying leave, the employer must, within 5 business days, inform the employee whether he or she is eligible for FMLA leave. The employer must also inform the employee of the expectations and rules associated with such leave.  If the employer requires the employee to obtain medical certification in support of the reason for the requested leave, the employee has 15 calendar days from the date of the request to return the completed certification to his or her employer.

What type of medical leave is available under the FMLA? 

Employees who are otherwise eligible for FMLA leave are entitled to take a total of 12 workweeks of protected leave per 12-month period.  Employees who take FMLA-qualifying leave to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury are entitled to 26 workweeks of protected leave per 12-month period.

The 12-month period may be calculated by the employer using any of the following methods, so long as the method chosen is applied consistently and uniformly to all employees:

  • The calendar year
  • The fiscal year
  • Any fixed 12-month year, such as the employee’s 1-year anniversary of employment with the employer
  • The 12-months looking forward from the day of the employee’s first FMLA leave
  • A rolling 12-months measured backward from the date an employee uses FMLA

An eligible employee may apply for “continuous” or “intermittent” leave under the FMLA, depending on the circumstances surrounding the employee’s need for the leave.

Types of FMLA Leave: Continuous vs Intermittent vs Reduced Leave Schedule

Continuous FMLA Leave

An employee may utilize continuous FMLA leave when he or she needs one continuous block of time off work for an FMLA-qualifying reason.  If the need for leave is foreseeable, employees must provide notice at least 30 days in advance of the need for leave, if possible, or as soon as practicable if a 30-day notice is not possible.  If the need for leave is unforeseeable, the employee must notify the employer of the need as soon as practicable.

Intermittent FMLA Leave

Intermittent leave can be utilized when an employee needs to take leave in separate blocks of time due to a single FMLA-qualifying reason.  This type of leave can be taken in periods of time ranging from one hour or more to weeks at a time.  The total leave used in a 12-month period cannot exceed 12 total weeks.  For example, an employee may utilize intermittent FMLA leave to attend medical appointments for a serious health condition during work hours.

Reduced Leave Schedule

Reduced leave schedule is a change in an employee’s regular schedule for a period of time.  For example, a fulltime employee may utilize this type of FMLA leave while he or she is recovering from a surgery and is not well enough to return to a fulltime schedule.

An employee must inform the employer of the reasons why the intermittent leave or a reduced leave schedule is necessary and inform the employer of the anticipated schedule for treatment.  The employee must attempt to arrange the intermittent treatment or the reduced schedule so as not to unduly disrupt the employer’s operations.

FMLA laws can be very complex and the regulations contain many nuances. For more information on FMLA, contact your Columbus FMLA employment lawyer today or visit our Employment Law Blog for more details on specific situations that might effect your FMLA rights.  Our employment lawyers have won several verdicts on FMLA lawsuits all over Ohio, including Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, Toledo, and Cleveland.  A serious medical condition should not be the basis for termination, discrimination, or retaliation. We can evaluate whether you have a claim for FMLA leave, assist you in obtaining FMLA leave and enforcing your rights under the Act, and getting you reinstated back to work after your FMLA leave.