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Bryan E. Kuhn
Counselor at Law, P.C.
Business & Employment Law Attorney

Common forms of FMLA harassment

From welcoming a new baby to caring for a sick loved one, several medical and family circumstances arise that require an extended leave of absence from work. The Family and Medical Leave Act, also known as FMLA, grants eligible employees the opportunity to take unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks.

While taking an FMLA absence, the law protects employees from job loss, harassment or wrongful termination. Unfortunately, employers may engage in unlawful retaliation.

FMLA harassment

Under FMLA, employers must allow their employees to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave without interruption of any health benefits. During this time, employees may also use accrued paid leave for a portion of the time, and employers must guarantee the same or a comparable job when the leave ends and the employee returns to work.

Despite these rights, employers will often:

  • Terminate an employee requesting FMLA leave
  • Restrict or overextend employee responsibilities
  • Deny lawful benefits
  • Withhold promotions or withdraw positional support
  • Reduce an employee’s pay
  • Assign lower-level work or tasks

An employer may engage in other acts of hostility or discrimination against an employee requesting FMLA time, ranging from overt violations of the law to more subtle instances of workplace antagonism.

Employee rights

Employees facing interference or denial of legal FMLA benefits have recourse. In many cases, building a case is as simple as referring to employment contracts or agreements, proving a positive track record that would not explain any demotions or reductions in pay and documenting any instances of known harassment or workplace hostility.

Employers found in violation of FMLA rules and guidelines may face legal consequences, allowing eligible employees to reclaim their work privileges.

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