Can I be Fired While on Leave under FMLA?
There are numerous laws at the state and federal level that protect employees in the workplace in Florida, and one in particular applies to your rights when you need time off from your job. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you are permitted to take a leave of absence if you qualify. In addition, you must work for an employer that is covered by the law. As long as these requirements are met, you gain certain job security advantages.
One of the most important protections is that you cannot be fired while on leave under FMLA, so you have assurance that it is legal to take the time you need. Still, there are numerous details that you should know to ensure you do not violate the law and put your employment status at risk. A South Florida FMLA lawyer will advise you on your rights, and you can read on for a summary about terminations while on leave.
Qualifying for FMLA Protections: The statute requires employers to provide an employee with the same or similar position in the workplace after returning to work, as long as you meet all FMLA criteria. The rules that apply to you are:
- You must have worked for your employer for at least 12 months.
- You need to have accumulated 1,250 hours of work time for the company.
- The reason for taking leave must be one covered by FMLA, including a medical condition, caring for a family member, or welcoming a child.
FMLA does not mandate that a company pay you for time off, but it does offer additional protections besides not being fired while on leave. You are entitled to the same medical and employee benefits as if you did not take time off.
FMLA Requirements for Florida Employers: Even if you meet all criteria, keep in mind that the company you work for must be covered by FMLA. The law applies when you work for a private employer that has 50 or more employees. Plus, the employees must work within a 75- mile radius of the work location. Alternatively, you are protected from being fired while on leave if you work for the government, a government agency, or a school.
Overlap with ADA: When your own medical condition is the reason you need to take time off from work, your situation may trigger the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). In such a case, your employer may be required to allow you to take minimal leave to address your ailment. The ADA applies to employers with 15 employees or more, so smaller employers are covered.
Discuss Legal Remedies with a Palm Beach County FMLA Attorney
This overview should answer the question of whether you can be fired while on leave under FMLA, but you will need further details to understand your rights. At Sconzo Law Office, our team is knowledgeable about the law and your remedies. Please call 561-279-6114 or visit our website today to set up a no-cost consultation at our offices in Palm Beach Gardens.