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JOB PROTECTION FOR LEAVES OF ABSENCE

Eligible employees in California are entitled to job protected medical, disability, pregnancy and baby bonding leaves of absence

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The FMLA and Other Leaves of Absence Law

Under the federal Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA), or the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), an employer that regularly employs more than fifty (50) people within a seventy five (75) mile radius is required to permit employees that have more than one year of service to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave if they, or their parents or children, have a “serious medical condition.” If you are in need of a California FMLA medical attorney who will offer a better understanding of your rights, our lawyers know the full scope of your rights under federal and California state law.

Under FMLA and CFRA mandates, a California or LA employee need not specify to the employer that he/she needs “FMLA” or “CFRA” family leave. It is sufficient for the employee to notify the California employer that he/she has a “serious health condition,” although the employee need not use those exact words to be granted FMLA medical leave. The employee need only let the employer know that he/she has a condition that will require inpatient treatment or several doctor’s visits or that may incapacitate the employee for more than three (3) days. If the employer wants more information, it must ask for it. The Family Leave Medical Act also stipulates that the California employer may request a doctor’s certificate, indicating the severity and probable duration of the condition, but it must do so in writing. If the employer wants a second opinion, it may demand one, provided that it pays for it. The employer who is bound by the Family & Medical Leave Act may also require the employee to see a physician of its choosing. If the California employer does not abide by such conditions of the Family Leave Medical Act, an FMLA attorney at Feldman Browne Olivares can make a strong case in your defense.

The FMLA and CFRA also protect Los Angeles employees (or other California employees) who require intermittent, or sporadic medical absences for such chronic conditions as migraines, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, etc. Significantly, if an employee’s doctor certifies them for intermittent leave due to a chronic condition, by FMLA guidelines the employer usually cannot ask for re-certification more often than every thirty (30) days. If you are unsure if FMLA guidelines were violated, it is critical that you work with a family lawyer or medical lawyer to identify whether your Family & Medical Leave Act rights were infringed upon.

FMLA-covered employers may ask for a medical certification from a California healthcare provider to verify an employee’s need for CFRA or FMLA medical leave; however, under CFRA (unlike under federal law) employers may not ask for the diagnosis, treatment, or other “medical facts” supporting an employee’s need for leave. If a family healthcare provider’s certification states that the employee has a “serious health condition” as defined by CFRA, and also states the date of onset and probable duration of the condition, the employer cannot ask for any additional medical information as per the FMLA. California employers who question the validity of a “sufficient” medical certification have two options: Grant the requested medical leave or pay for the employee to be examined by another, neutral healthcare provider. If the employer insists on a “second opinion” for medical diagnosis, and that opinion conflicts with the first, the employer must pay for a third medical opinion, which acts as the “tiebreaker.”

CFRA family leave may also be taken for adopting or bonding with a child. “Baby bonding leave” may be taken immediately following a pregnancy disability leave or at any time within 12 months of the baby’s birth. Theoretically, if an employee has a difficult pregnancy, she may be entitled to up to four months of Pregnancy Disability Leave (“PDLL”), plus an additional 12 weeks of “baby bonding” leave once she recovers from her pregnancy-related disability. In other words, a woman disabled by pregnancy who then gives birth may take up to seven consecutive months of job-protected medical leave.
If the employee takes covered medical leave per the Family & Medical Leave Act or the CFRA, the employer must return the employee to the his/her prior position (or to a substantially similar position) without any loss of seniority. If an employee takes covered PDLL medical leave, the employer must return the employee to her prior position without any loss of seniority. If you are in need of an experienced FMLA lawyer to help navigate a medical dispute between you and your employer, the hardworking attorneys at Feldman Browne Olivares can work with you to ensure that the protections granted by the Family & Medical Leave Act are enforced.

DISCLAIMER: This website is intended to provide general information only. Nothing contained in this article, or on this website, is intended to provide legal advice. By using this website you acknowledge and agree that you have not formed an attorney-client relationship with Feldman Browne Olivares, APC and will not rely on any information contained on this website without personally speaking with one of our attorneys. You further understand and acknowledge that Feldman Browne Olivares, APC strongly encourages anyone who believes they may have a claim to communicate directly with a lawyer, whether from Feldman Browne Olivares, APC or any other firm.