When You Need To Take Off Work For Health Reasons
If you work for an employer with more than 50 employees or the government, it’s very likely you are eligible to take an unpaid leave of up to 12 weeks and still keep your job. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) applies to employees who have been with the company for a year or more and who themselves have a medical condition or who need to care for a family member who needs help.
At Yormak Employment & Disability Law, we have a deep understanding of the ins and outs of FMLA and how it applies to employees. If you have questions, our board-certified employment law expert can help.
Which Conditions Qualify For FMLA?
You may need to take a few weeks off to care for a sick child, elderly parent or other family member. There are three basic FMLA criteria. If the condition:
- Prevents you from working three consecutive days or more. You must also have either two doctor’s visits or one doctor’s visit and a prescription. An example is if you contract a contagious or communicable disease such as pink eye or measles.
- Requires on-going treatment, such as diabetes or cancer
- Required you to stay overnight at a hospital
Your employer cannot fire you, give you less pay, a lower status or a different work schedule when you return from FMLA. An FMLA leave cannot count against your attendance and is not part of a “no fault” attendance policy.
The Americans With Disabilities Act And Employment
If you work for an employer with 15 employees or more, then you are covered under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. If you have a disability then that employer, agency or union cannot discriminate against you because of that disability.
You have a disability if you:
- Have a limiting physical or mental impairment
- Have a record of such an impairment
- Are regarded as having such an impairment
If you asked your employer for a reasonable accommodation and it will not cause the employer “undue hardship” then that employer should make the accommodation for you. A reasonable accommodation may include making the facility accessible or modifying your work schedule. Your employer may need to obtain or modify the equipment you use, adapt the training materials or provide people to help you read or interpret the materials. Speak with an attorney who handles Florida employment law issues for more details.
What The ADA Also Covers
The Americans With Disabilities Act covers the rights of employees with disabilities. Some of your rights under this act include:
- Your employer has no right to ask you about your disability; how bad it is or what it’s like. You can only be subjected to a medical exam if all employees in similar roles are also subjected to one and the exam is related to the job.
- Your medical records are also confidential and what an employer learns about your condition is confidential. If you make a request for a reasonable accommodation this is considered medical information and is confidential.
- Employees who use drugs and alcohol are not covered under the ADA. Testing for drugs is not considered a medical examination.
Your employer cannot retaliate against you if you file a claim, testify or take part in an investigation regarding your disability.
Maximize Your Rights Under The Law
Many people are afraid to step forward because they fear losing their job or their employer punishing them. The truth is, if you are reading this, your job is probably not that great right now as it is. Often the best thing you can do is to speak to someone who understands the law and your rights. We can help. Call 239-399-8808 for a free, no-obligation, no-risk confidential consultation. Get your questions answered by a board-certified expert and decide how to move forward. You can also reach out to us via our confidential website contact email and we will get in touch with you.