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3 common issues that can arise for workers taking leave

Many workers in California receive job-protected leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act. These measures allow eligible employees to take time away from work for specific reasons (birth or adoption of a child, serious medical conditions) without having to risk losing their job.

These rules are critical to the rights of employees in this state, but they can and do cause disputes. Below are a few common disputes that can arise when an employee requests or takes time under the FMLA or CFRA

  • Wrongfully-denied leave - Employers may erroneously deny person's leave request for various reasons. They may not want to have the employee gone for an extended period of time, or they may believe that the reason for the leave does not qualify for protection. One of the most important things to do as an employee utilizing these leave options is to notify an employer right away. Doing so can allow for more time to respond to wrongfully-denied leave. 
  • Eligibility confusion - Not every employee is eligible for job-protected leave under these laws. To be eligible, you must meet certain requirements, depending on the type of leave you wish to take. This chart provides a helpful look at these requirements. If you or your employer does not understand or comply with these criteria, you can wind up in a dispute. 
  • Administrative errors - Poor record keeping can also lead to leave disputes. Employers may fail to properly note an employee's start date, affecting eligibility, for instance. Or, an employee may wind up losing job protection because he or she took too much time off that was not covered by FMLA or CFRA. To avoid these conflicts, keep diligent records and ensure you and your employer have the same data. 

Understanding and preparing for these conflicts can help workers and employers alike take steps to avoid disagreements before they arise.

Unfortunately, disputes can still arise. When they do, employees should know they have rights worth protecting. Talking to an attorney can help a worker better understand these rights and their legal options for seeking a just outcome.

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