Does FMLA Leave Apply to A Certain Business?

FMLA, or the Family Medical Leave Act, was created with the intention of balancing the needs of California employers with the needs of their employees when the employees had to take extended medical leaves for serious medical conditions or to care for family members. FMLA applies to any employer in the private sector who engages in commerce or in an industry or activity affecting commerce, and who has 50 or more employees each working day during at least 20 calendar weeks in the current or preceding year. While many employees assume FMLA leave is paid time-off, the law does not require it. However, whether an employee receives paid FMLA leave should be clearly explained in the employee’s work agreement.

An employee is eligible for FMLA leave if he or she:

FMLA and Employee Leave

Is your Orange County employer complying with the various federal and state laws that govern the amount of time off certain employees must be allowed? For example, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is one such set of guidelines and can be tricky to navigate, especially when it appears that an employee does not actually qualify for the time off he or she is requesting. FMLA requires covered employers to provide employees job-protected and unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons. Qualified medical and family reasons include: personal or family illness, family military leave, pregnancy, adoption, or the foster care placement of a child.

But what happens when an employer doesn’t believe an employee qualifies for FMLA leave? Can it risk a lawsuit for saying no?

GINA and Employee Medical Testing

In many cases, a potential employee’s family history is a great indicator of predispositions to certain hereditary diseases and illnesses. In a perfect world, this information could assist employers in making hiring, firing, and demoting decisions, potentially affecting a business’s bottom line for the better. However, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) prohibits employers and other entities covered by GINA Title II from requesting or requiring genetic information of an individual or family member of the individual, except as specifically allowed by this law.

“Genetic information,” as defined by GINA, includes:

How Should An Employer Respond to An Employee’s Request for Disability Accommodation

How is an Orange County employer supposed to respond to an employee’s disclosure of a disability? Under the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”), your employer has a duty to make a reasonable adjustment for the employee’s disability – an adjustment or modification that allows the employee to do the job.  For purposes of the ADA, a disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, which can include basic tasks (walking, reading, bending, and communicating) and major bodily functions (functions of the immune system, digestion, bladder, brain, respiratory, endocrine, and reproductive systems, to name a few). Almost 20% of the workforce includes employees with disabilities.

While under the ADA, an employer does not have to provide a reasonable accommodation for the employee if doing so would create an undue hardship, it is best to discuss your situation with an experienced Orange County employer lawyer if your request for an accommodation has been denied by your employer.

The EEOC’s Guidance on the ADA and Employers’ Leave of Absence Policies

Many Orange County employers are unclear as to the type and scope of legal protections available to employees with a recognized disability. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), employees are offered various types of safeguards, including the right to not be discriminated against because of his or her disability, and can seek “reasonable accommodations,” including a leave of absence, for their disabilities.

According to the ADA, employers are required, under certain circumstances, to reasonably accommodate an employee’s physical or mental impairment that limits a “major life activity” for that employee. One way in which employees have sought to be accommodated is by obtaining leaves of absence from their jobs in order to accommodate their disability. This can result in a conflict between employee and employer. Whereas an individual with a disability may feel a leave of absence is crucial to his or her health and well-being, employers often feel that extended leaves of absence are too disruptive to their business operations, and therefore not “reasonable”. Discuss your rights as an employee with an experienced ADA lawyer in Orange County.

Must an Employee Request a Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA?

The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, is a federal law that protects individuals from discrimination based on disability in a variety of contexts. Although the ADA offers wide-reaching protection, legal remedies for individuals with disabilities are not necessarily automatic. As a recent federal case illustrates, individuals with disabilities must take certain necessary steps prior to filing a lawsuit under the ADA.

For example, in order to establish a claim under the ADA for workplace discrimination, an individual with a disability must allege certain facts, or elements. First, the employee must show that he or she has a disability. An individual with a disability, as defined by the ADA, is someone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such impairment. Second, the employee must show that he or she is qualified (with or without a reasonable accommodation) to perform the functions of the job in question. Lastly, the ADA plaintiff employee must show that he or she suffered discrimination based on his or her disability.

Should My Employer Allow Me to Telecommute?

With today’s technology, it seems that employees are able to work practically anywhere and at any time. Indeed, many Fortune 500 companies have adopted this more flexible approach to employment styles, known as telecommuting, often making life quite a bit easier for their employees. Does your California employer offer you the ability to work for home? If not, you may be wondering if he or she is breaking the law. Are California employers required to do, at least this in certain situations? Not surprisingly, the answer depends on the specific facts surrounding your employment, which an experienced employment attorney can discuss with you.
What does it mean to telecommute?
Telecommuting is often called a few things, including remote work, or telework, and involves is a work arrangement in which employees do not commute to a central place of work. A person who telecommutes is known as a “telecommuter”, “teleworker”, and sometimes as a “home-sourced,” or “work-at-home” employee.

CA & Federal Laws Relating to Employee Medical Leave

Various state and federal laws ensure an employee’s right to fair treatment and pay. One quickly evolving area of California employment law relates to medical and family leave. Employees should be aware of medical and family leave laws and the extent to which they apply to a given employment situation.
FMLA and your rights as an employee
Federal law, under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers with fifty or more employees to provide certain employees with flexible leave options. This leave includes allowing up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave per year to recuperate from a serious health condition, to take care of a family member with a serious health condition, to care for a new child, or to handle certain situations arising from a family member’s military service.