The Family Medical Leave Act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. Under FMLA's provisions, eligible employees are allowed to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a newborn child or sick child, spouse or parent. Prior to the enaction of FMLA, many American workers were left with the impossible decision of keeping their job or caring for a loved one.
One mother recently filed a lawsuit against her former employer after she contends she was fired for attempting to take FMLA leave. The woman, whose son was diagnosed as suffering from chronic pain syndrome, requested FMLA leave to care for her seriously ill child. Shortly thereafter, the woman was fired.
Under the terms of FMLA, employers with 50 or more employees are required by law to allow employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each 12-month calendar year to care for a sick child, spouse or parent. The woman had previously taken FMLA leave during 2011. However, upon requesting FMLA leave for the 2012 calendar year, the woman was fired.
In addition to being denied FMLA leave, the woman was also told she would not be allowed to take the 126 hours of vacation time which she had accrued. The woman's lawsuit contends she was fired in retaliation as her employer did not want to pay the health care expenses associated with her son's severe medical condition.
Texas employees who have experienced similar discrimination or retaliation related to FMLA leave have rights and would be wise to contact a lawyer. An employment attorney can provide legal advice and help determine if legal action is appropriate.
Source: The Greenfield Reporter, "Southern Ind. woman sues hospital she says fired her after asking for leave to care for son," Charles Wilson, May 27, 2013