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What Are My Rights Under the FMLA?

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What Are My Rights Under the FMLA?

If you or a family member should ever be struck by a serious illness or medical condition, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives you certain rights to take time off from work. Employees must meet certain conditions to be granted this type of leave, but if they do meet these conditions, they are eligible to return to work at an equivalent position with the same benefits.

While most employers adhere to the provisions of the FMLA, disputes often arise that put hard working employees against an employer they rely on for the job that allows them to provide for their family. When this happens, the employee may file FMLA lawsuits and recover various forms of compensation.

What is the FMLA?

Any employee with a serious health condition requiring in-patient treatment or ongoing treatment by a physician is eligible to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from work. The key is that the condition must be serious, such as an illness, injury, mental condition, or even the birth or adoption of a child.

Employees may take all 12 weeks of leave at once or use them in parts to resolve their health issues. Workers are also eligible to work a reduced schedule, in certain circumstances.

Qualifications for FMLA

There are certain conditions employees must meet to qualify for leave under the FMLA. The individual must have worked for their employer for at least one year, encompassing 1,250 work hours (approximately an average of 24 hours per week).

Furthermore, the business must have at least 50 employees working within a 75-mile radius of the company’s location. State and federal agencies must provide leave under the FMLA no matter the size of the business.

What can I recover if my employer violates the FMLA?

Employees discriminated against under the FMLA are able to file civil suits to recover various forms of compensation. These FMLA lawsuits must be filed within two years of the alleged incident or the employee may lose legal standing to recover damages.

FMLA lawsuits can recover damages for:

  • Back wages plus interest
  • Reimbursement for medical care of family member
  • Reinstatement
  • Attorney’s fees
  • Liquidated damages if the employer acted in bad faith

Chicago FMLA lawyers

If you feel your rights were violated under the FMLA, contact or call 312.332.6733 our office for a consultation about your case. Our Chicago FMLA lawyers can investigate the circumstances of your case and determine your best course of legal action.

How Do I Prove Whistleblower Retaliation?

As a matter of public policy, state and federal governments encourage individuals with intimate knowledge of fraud, waste, and abuse of governmental programs to step forward and report the wrongdoing. Under federal laws like the False Claims Act, these whistleblowers may be entitled to a portion of money recovered if the case is successfully prosecuted.

Despite being able to file many different whistleblower claims under seal and robust state and federal protections for employees who step forward with information of fraud, individuals may sometimes face retaliation from their employers. In these situations, the employee has the legal remedy to recover compensation for the damages suffered.

Whistleblower retaliation lawsuits

Under the federal and state laws, employers are barred from engaging in termination, discrimination, harassment, demotion, suspension, or threats against employees reporting fraud, waste, or abuse of federal or state programs. To successfully prove an employee was retaliated against, the whistleblower needs to prove:

  • They engaged in a protected act under the False Claims Act or other whistleblower programs
  • The employer had knowledge of the employee’s participation in a protected act
  • The discrimination was motivated by the employer’s knowledge of the employee’s protected actions

To satisfy the first element, the employee must demonstrate that they filed a whistleblower claim or that they were working towards this endeavor. This can include gathering information to turn over to whistleblower attorneys or investigators.

Proving the second and third elements can be a little more complicated. The employer must have knowledge the employee was working on or towards the filing of a whistleblower action, and that this motivated the discrimination.

An experienced whistleblower retaliation attorney can help plaintiffs demonstrate to courts the employer knew the employee’s participation in the protected action led or could lead to uncovering violations of anti-fraud statutes. The plaintiff must then demonstrate to the court a causal relationship between the employer’s knowledge of the employee’s motivations and the subsequent harm suffered by the whistleblower.

Chicago employment discrimination lawyers

If you believe you were discriminated against at your place of business because of your work in uncovering fraud, waste, or abuse of state or federal programs, contact or call 312.332.6733 our office for a consultation. Our Chicago employment discrimination lawyers can help you with job reinstatement, recouping compensation for lost wages, and recovering special damages for the harm you suffered. With over 25 years of employment law experience, Goldman & Ehrlich serves clients throughout Chicago, Illinois, and Southwestern Michigan.

How Do I Prove Sexual Harassment at Work?

Sexual harassment is despicable, demeaning behavior with no place in any job, and it must be taken seriously in order to be eliminated as a threat to employees. Sadly, employers do not always see it that way and often times supervisors abuse their authority and perpetrate these types of acts themselves, which makes exposing it all the more difficult for the abused.

Fortunately, there are measures victims of workplace sexual harassment can take to prove the activity and make their place of employment a safer environment. Victims should not need to feel helpless in these situations and instead, know they can empower themselves to make the harassment end.

Documenting sexual harassment

Victims should make written documentation of the harassment they experience at work. Try to make the notes as soon as possible so the information cannot be misconstrued as the result of a selective memory. Records of sexual harassment should include:

  • Date
  • Time
  • Place
  • Names of those who may have witnessed the harassment
  • What exactly happened

The chances are that if proper details are collected and reported, the perpetrator may inadvertently make some kind of statement in an investigation corroborating the events. Barring that, documentation shows the victim is serious about their claim and is trying their best to ensure all the facts come out.

Know your company’s sexual harassment policy

It is almost always a good idea to work within your company’s guidelines for reporting sexual harassment. By working within the system, the victim can demonstrate a good faith attempt at resolving sexual harassment claims the right way. Almost all employers have a procedure for reporting this type of unacceptable behavior and should take the claim seriously.

If your supervisor is the one making the unwanted advances or inappropriate claims, the behavior should be reported to their supervisor. Often times, companies have independent HR departments to investigate these claims and will remain impartial regardless of the perpetrator’s job title.

Chicago sexual harassment lawyers

If you have done your best to report and record the workplace sexual harassment affecting your life, you may be able to file civil lawsuits and report claims to state employment authorities. In these situations, plaintiffs should strongly consider retaining an experienced Chicago sexual harassment lawyer to ensure their claim is properly prosecuted and taken seriously. Contact or call 312.332.6733 our office for a consultation about your case. With over 25 years of experience, the Chicago employment attorneys of Goldman & Ehrlich understand what it takes to get clients the justice they deserve.