Virginia FMLA and Leave Discrimination Lawyer

Employers in Virginia are subject to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allows workers who are eligible to take unpaid leave, with the right to reinstatement.

If your company has denied a leave of absence for a physical and mental illness, or if you have been demoted, fired, or retaliated against for taking a leave of absence, you may have a claim against your employer.

A skilled Virginia FMLA and leave discrimination lawyer who is experienced in handling family and medical leave cases may help you determine if you have been the subject of discrimination and could assist you in taking action if a violation has occurred.

Retaliation Protection and Remedies Under the FMLA

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows an employee to take unpaid leave (up to 12 weeks) for maternity or paternity leave, pregnancy complications, or care of an immediate family member who has a serious health condition. A serious health condition entitling an employee to FMLA leave may be any injury, illness, or impairment that involves continuing treatment or inpatient care by a medical professional.

An employee may be eligible to take FMLA leave if the employee:

  • Has worked for at least 1,250 hours during the previous 12 months;
  • Works at a location with at least 50 employees;
  • Worked for the employer for at least 12 months.

The FMLA prohibits an employer from terminating, denying a promotion to, or demoting an employee because the employee requested or has taken a leave of absence. Remedies may vary based upon the facts and circumstances of the case. Potential remedies may include reinstatement, compensation for lost wages, or any other loss sustained as a result of the violation.

Additionally, the Virginia Human Rights Act may provide coverage to certain employees who have been denied leave on account of a serious health condition.

Key Elements for Filing an FMLA and Leave Claim

According to the FMLA procedure, a claim must be filed within two years of a violation. If the violation is considered malicious, the statute of limitations may be extended to three years.

In some cases, there is a significant difference given in favor of employers. Because the time limit for an FMLA starts from the date of the last denial of leave, employers may not be held liable for certain leave decisions that occur long before an employee is terminated or discharged.

For as long as FMLA leave lasts, an employer must not interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of any right provided under the FMLA. An employer that retaliates against a worker for opposing any practice made unlawful by FMLA may also be held liable for violating FMLA policy.

Plaintiffs who have been illegally denied a leave of absence may file a complaint with the United States Department of Labor. The Department of Labor may conduct an independent investigation of the alleged breach of FMLA.

Plaintiffs may also take their case directly to either the appropriate United States District Court or the state court. Plaintiffs that choose to pursue a lawsuit may be tasked with conducting an investigation, filing the complaint, and conducting the trial. Reach out to a Virginia FMLA and leave discrimination lawyer could help with filing a lawsuit.

Talk to a Virginia FMLA and Leave Discrimination Attorney Today

After FMLA leave, employees are entitled to return to work and maintain their group health benefits. Employers may not retaliate or discriminate against an employee for taking a leave of absence to which they are entitled.

However, defendants can make arguments to obscure such retaliation, and may also be able to claim to have a legitimate business reason for his or her actions.

An experienced Virginia FMLA and leave discrimination lawyer who is fluent in FMLA policies could explain your legal rights and determine if you have a valid claim worth pursuing. Call now to learn more.