Family Medical Leave Attorneys for Los Angeles, Kern, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties

What is Family Medical Leave?

In California employees have the right to family medical leave during times of illness, bonding with a new child, or caring for a seriously ill family member. There are a number of overlapping laws that comprise the applicable legal framework, but the main components include the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), the California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL), and California Paid Family Leave (PFL).

Family and Medical Leave Act: In enacting the FMLA, Congress found that in an era where all adults in many families are in the workforce, employer leave policies often did not permit employees reasonably to balance family obligations and work life as well as to miss work during serious illnesses.  Therefore, Congress passed this federal law which requires private employers with 50 or more employees and all state, local, and federal government employers to provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons, with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.  The Act is designed to balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of families, to promote the stability and economic security of families, and to promote national interests in preserving family integrity.

California Family Rights Act: The California Family Rights Act, enacted as the Moore-Brown-Roberti Family Rights Act, is part of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).  The CFRA is a state law that authorizes eligible employees to take up to a total of 12 weeks of paid or unpaid job-protected leave during a 12-month period for specified family and medical reasons, including bonding with a new child or caring for a seriously ill family member.

California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law: The PDLL allows employees disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions to take up to four months of job-protected leave.

California Paid Family Leave: Under the PFL, the State of California provides benefit payments to people who need to take time off work to care for a seriously ill family member, bond with a new child, or address specific military exigencies.

What Obligations Do California Employers Have in Connection with Family Medical Leave?

Employers’ duties concerning family medical leave involve compliance with these laws, providing eligible employees with the specified leave entitlements, maintaining group health insurance coverage during the leave where applicable, and providing job security upon return from covered leave. It is important for employers to understand and adhere with the requirements of these and other leave laws.  However, these laws are not one size fits all.  Some of the requirements apply to only certain employers, but not others.  Similarly, some of these laws apply to certain situations but not others.  The best way for employers to determine their duties in a particular situation is to consult with an experienced employment lawyer. The Akopyan Law Firm A.P.C. helps employers in Southern California, including Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Orange, Oxnard, Riverside, and San Bernardino, understand their legal obligations.

Common Violations of Family Medical Leave

Sometimes employers (knowingly or accidentally) violate employee’s rights when it comes to family medical leave. Common violations by employers include:

  • Counting protected FMLA absences against employees under an attendance policy.
  • Refusing to grant FMLA leave.
  • Interfering with FMLA rights, such as for example, expecting employees to perform work while they are out on leave.
  • Failure to reinstate an employee when FMLA leave ends.
  • Terminating employees for taking FMLA leave.

Employers sometimes violate the FMLA by misinterpreting FMLA to be something akin to working from home, impermissibly requiring medical information, and subjecting employees to harassment, verbal abuse, or unfair treatment upon their return from leave.

It is important for both employers and employees to be aware of these potential violations and the rights and responsibilities outlined in the Family Medical Leave laws.

Employees in Southern California, including Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Oxnard, can contact Akopyan Law Firm A.P.C. to have their family medical leave rights protected. We offer a complimentary case evaluation.

Legal Representation to Protect Your Rights

Akopyan Law Firm A.P.C. can fight to enforce an employee’s rights when employers violate family medical leave laws. We serve clients across Southern California, including Los Angeles, Kern, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties. Akopyan Law Firm A.P.C. has experienced lawyer who handle family medical leave cases ready to help.  When you call our law firm you can get a consultation directly from one of our attorneys, and not some case intake person.

Contact us today to speak directly with a lawyer for representation in cases involving family medical leave in Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Orange, Oxnard, Riverside, and San Bernardino and the surrounding areas.

Frequently Asked Questions About Family Medical Leave in Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura

What is the California Family Rights Act?

The California Family Rights Act is a California law that provides eligible workers working for covered employers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave without losing their job, being demoted, or being retaliated against. This law is very similar to the federal Family Medical Leave Act but offers additional protections to California employees.

Are all California employers required to give employees leave under the California Family Rights Act? 

No, not all employers are subject to the California Family Rights Act. Like the Family Medical Leave Act, if your employer directly employs 5 or more persons to perform services for a salary or wage, within 75 miles, then it is a “covered employer” and is subject to the California Family Rights Act. The coverage threshold is reached under the California Family Rights Act if an employer has employed 5 or more employees for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding year. If your employer does not have 5 or more employers within 75 miles, then it is not a “covered employer” and is not required to give the 12-week California Family Rights Act leave. Each situation is unique, so contact the medical leave attorneys in Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, or Ventura at the Akopyan Law Firm, A.P.C. to schedule a complimentary case evaluation.

How do I know if I am eligible for California Family Rights Act leave?

You are eligible for leave under the Family Medical Leave Act or California Family Rights Act if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • You have worked for your employer for at least for 12 months as of the date leave commences.
  • You have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period immediately before the commencement of your leave.
  • You are employed at a worksite where the employer employs at least 5 employees within 75 miles.

Each situation is unique; you should contact an attorney to discuss your specific situation. Akopyan Law Firm, A.P.C. provides complimentary case evaluations.

For what reasons can I take a California Family Rights Act leave of absence? Will it cover my wedding and honeymoon?

No, the California Family Rights Act does not cover such leaves of absence. You can take a leave of absence under the California Family Rights Act one of a handful of specified reasons such as for example, your own serious health condition, or the serious health condition of a child, spouse, registered domestic partner or parent.  You cannot take it for your wedding, honeymoon, or vacation.

What kinds of health conditions are serious enough to qualify for California Family Rights Act protected leave?

A “serious health condition” under the California Family Rights Act is a sickness, injury, physical or mental condition, or impairment of an employee or his/her child, parent, or spouse. The condition must involve either inpatient care or continuing treatment, such as substance abuse treatment.

Can my employer force me to work a different job or a different shift to avoid giving me my California Family Rights Act leave of absence?

No. The California Family Rights Act leave is available if you are unable to perform your present job due to a serious health condition, even if you are able to perform a different job or a similar job for a different employer.

I just gave birth and my pregnancy leave finished; can I now take California Family Rights Act leave to stay home with my newborn?

If you are a “covered employee” working for a California Family Rights Act “covered employer,” you may be entitled to California Family Rights Act leave of absence because of the birth of your child. Please contact one of our employment law attorneys in Los Angeles to discuss your specific situation.

How long of a leave of absence do I get under the California Family Rights Act?

Generally, the California Family Rights Act provides a maximum of 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period.

Does my employer have to pay me during my California Family Rights Act leave? 

No. The California Family Rights Act leave is unpaid. However, your employer cannot fire you while you are on California Family Rights Act leave.

Do I need to specifically request that my employer put me on California Family Rights Act leave? 

No, there are no magic words or requirements that you specifically request that your employer put you on a California Family Rights Act leave of absence. It is the employer’s duty to designate your leave of absence properly.

How much notice do I need to give my employer before taking a California Family Rights Act leave of absence?

Generally, if your leave is foreseeable, you should give your employer at least 30 days’ notice, or reasonable notice of taking the California Family Rights Act leave of absence. However, there are times such as an unforeseeable medical emergency where there is no time to give notice. In those situations, you should provide notice to your employer as soon as practicable under the circumstances.

Can my employer demand that I bring in a doctor’s note if I want to take a California Family Rights Act leave? 

Generally, yes. If you are taking an unpaid leave due to your own serious health condition or that of a family member, your employer can ask for medical certification from you.

Call Akopyan Law Firm A.P.C. at (818) 509-9975 today to schedule a complimentary case evaluation with our legal team.

Featured Family Medical Leave Case

Nevada Dep’t of Hum. Res. v. Hibbs, 538 U.S. 721, 721–23, 123 S. Ct. 1972, 1973–75, 155 L. Ed. 2d 953 (2003)

Respondent Hibbs, an employee of the Nevada Department of Human Resources (Department), sought leave to care for his ailing wife under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), which entitles an eligible employee to take up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave annually for the onset of a “serious health condition” in the employee’s spouse and for other reasons, 29 U.S.C. § 2612(a)(1)(C). The Department granted respondent’s request for the full 12 weeks of FMLA leave, but eventually informed him that he had exhausted that leave and that he must report to work by a certain date. Respondent failed to do so and was terminated. Pursuant to FMLA provisions creating a private right of action to seek both equitable relief and money damages “against any employer (including a public agency),” § 2617(a)(2), that “interfere[d] with, restrain[ed], or den[ied] the exercise of” FMLA rights, § 2615(a)(1), respondent sued petitioners, the Department and two of its officers, in Federal District Court seeking damages and injunctive and declaratory relief for, inter alia, violations of § 2612(a)(1)(C). The court awarded petitioners summary judgment on the grounds that the FMLA claim was barred by the Eleventh Amendment and that respondent’s Fourteenth Amendment rights had not been violated. The Ninth Circuit reversed.

The United States Supreme Court held as follows: State employees may recover money damages in federal court in the event of the State’s failure to comply with the FMLA’s family-care provision. Congress may abrogate the States’ Eleventh Amendment immunity from suit in federal court if it makes its intention to abrogate unmistakably clear in the language of the statute and acts pursuant to a valid exercise of its power under § 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment. See, e.g., Board of Trustees of Univ. of Ala. v. Garrett, 531 U.S. 356, 363, 121 S. Ct. 955, 148 L.Ed.2d 866. The FMLA satisfies the clear statement rule. See Kimel v. Florida Bd. of Regents, 528 U.S. 62, 73–78, 120 S.Ct. 631, 145 L.Ed.2d 522. Congress also acted within its authority under § 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment when it sought to abrogate the States’ immunity for purposes of the FMLA’s family-leave provision. In the exercise of its § 5 power, Congress may enact so-called prophylactic legislation that proscribes facially constitutional conduct *722 in order to prevent and deter unconstitutional conduct, e.g., City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507, 536, 117 S.Ct. 2157, 138 L.Ed.2d 624, but it may not attempt to substantively redefine the States’ legal obligations, Kimel, supra, at 88, 120 S.Ct. 631. The test for distinguishing appropriate prophylactic legislation from substantive redefinition is that valid § 5 legislation must exhibit “congruence and proportionality between the injury to be prevented or remedied and the means adopted to that end.” City of Boerne, supra, at 520, 117 S.Ct. 2157. The FMLA aims to protect the right to be free from gender-based discrimination in the workplace. Statutory classifications that distinguish between males and females are subject to heightened scrutiny, see, e.g., Craig v. Boren, 429 U.S. 190, 197–199, 97 S.Ct. 451, 50 L.Ed.2d 397; i.e., they must “serv[e] important governmental objectives,” and “the discriminatory means employed [must be] substantially related to the achievement of those objectives,” United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515, 533, 116 S.Ct. 2264, 135 L.Ed.2d 735. When it enacted the FMLA, Congress had before it significant evidence of a long and extensive history of sex discrimination with respect to the administration of leave benefits by the States, which is weighty enough to justify the enactment of prophylactic § 5 legislation. Cf. Fitzpatrick v. Bitzer, 427 U.S. 445, 456, 96 S.Ct. 2666, 49 L.Ed.2d 614. Garrett, supra, and Kimel, supra, in which the Court reached the opposite conclusion, are distinguished on the ground that the § 5 legislation there at issue responded to a purported tendency of state officials to make age- or disability-based distinctions, characteristics that are not judged under a heightened review standard, but pass equal protection muster if there is a rational basis for enacting them. See, e.g., Kimel, supra, at 86, 120 S.Ct. 631. Here, because the standard for demonstrating the constitutionality of a gender-based classification is more difficult to meet than the rational-basis test, it was easier for Congress to show a pattern of state constitutional violations. Cf. South Carolina v. Katzenbach, 383 U.S. 301, 308–313, 86 S.Ct. 803, 15 L.Ed.2d 769. The impact of the discrimination targeted by the FMLA, which is based on mutually reinforcing stereotypes that only women are responsible for family caregiving and that men lack domestic responsibilities, is significant. Moreover, Congress’ chosen remedy, the FMLA’s family-care provision, is “congruent and proportional to the targeted violation,” Garrett, supra, at 374, 121 S.Ct. 955. Congress had already tried unsuccessfully to address this problem through Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Where previous legislative attempts have failed, see Katzenbach, supra, at 313, 86 S.Ct. 803, such problems may justify added prophylactic measures in response, Kimel, supra, at 88, 120 S.Ct. 631. By creating an across-the-board, routine employment benefit for all eligible employees, Congress sought to ensure that family-care leave would no longer be stigmatized as an inordinate drain on the workplace caused by female employees, and that employers could not evade leave obligations simply by hiring men. Unlike the statutes at issue in City of Boerne, Kimel, and Garrett, which applied broadly to every aspect of state employers’ operations, the FMLA is narrowly targeted at the faultline between work and family—precisely where sex-based overgeneralization has been and remains strongest—and affects only one aspect of the employment relationship. Also significant are the many other limitations that Congress placed on the FMLA’s scope. See Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Ed. Expense Bd. v. College Savings Bank, 527 U.S. 627, 647, 119 S.Ct. 2199, 144 L.Ed.2d 575. For example, the FMLA requires only unpaid leave, § 2612(a)(1); applies only to employees who have worked for the employer for at least one year and provided 1,250 hours of service within the last 12 months, § 2611(2)(A); and does not apply to employees in high-ranking or sensitive positions, including state elected officials, their staffs, and appointed policymakers, §§ 2611(2)(B)(i) and (3), 203(e)(2)(C).

Contact Us When You Need an Employment Law Attorney for Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Orange, Oxnard, Riverside, San Bernardino, or Ventura

Call us today at (818) 509-9975 or contact us online to schedule a complimentary case evaluation. We have extensive experience in all aspects of employment law, including medical leave cases.

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The litigation and trial attorneys of the Akopyan Law Firm, A.P.C. provide services throughout Southern California including but not limited to AdelantoAgoura HillsAlhambraAliso ViejoAltadenaAnaheimApple ValleyArcadiaArletaAtwater VillageAzuzaBakersfieldBaldwin ParkBanningBeaumontBellBell GardensBellflowerBeverly HillsBlytheBoyle HeightsBreaBrentwoodBuena ParkBurbankCalabasasCalimesaCamarilloCanoga ParkCanyon LakeCarsonCathedral CityCerritosChatsworthChino HillsChinoClaremontCoachellaColtonComptonCosta MesaCoronaCovinaCulver CityCypressDana PointDesert Hot SpringsDiamond BarDowneyDuarteEagle RockEast HollywoodEast Los AngelesEastvaleEcho ParkEl MonteEl SegundoEl SerenoEncinoFontanaFountain ValleyFullertonGardenaGarden GroveGlassell ParkGlendaleGlendoraGranada HillsHacienda HeightsHawthorneHemetHesperiaHighland ParkHighlandHollywoodHollywood HillsHuntington BeachHuntington ParkIndian WellsIndioInglewoodIrvineJurupa ValleyLa Canada FlintridgeLa-Crescenta MontroseLa HabraLa MiradaLa PalmaLa PuenteLa QuintaLa VerneLaguna BeachLaguna HillsLaguna NiguelLaguna WoodsLakewoodLake BalboaLake ElsinoreLake ForestLancasterLawndaleLincoln HeightsLoma LindaLong BeachLos AlamitosLos AngelesLos FelizLynwoodManhattan BeachMar VistaMaywoodMenifeeMission HillsMission ViejoMonroviaMontclairMontebelloMonterey ParkMoorparkMoreno ValleyMurrietaNewbury ParkNewhallNewport BeachNorcoNorth HillsNorth HollywoodNorthridgeNorwalkOntarioOrangeOxnardPacific PalisadesPacoimaPalos VerdesPalmdalePalm DesertPalm SpringsPanorama CityParamountPasadenaPerrisPico RiveraPlacentiaPomonaPorter RanchRancho CucamongaRancho MirageRancho Santa MargaritaRedondo BeachResedaRialtoRiversideRosemeadRowland HeightsSan BernardinoSan ClementeSan DimasSan GabrielSan FernandoSan JacintoSan Juan CapistranoSan PedroSanta AnaSanta ClaritaSanta MonicaSawtelleSeal BeachShadow HillsSherman OaksSilver LakeSimi ValleySouth El MonteSouth GateSouth PasadenaSouth WhittierStantonStudio CitySun ValleySunlandSylmarTarzanaTemeculaTemple CityThousand OaksToluca LakeTorranceTujungaTustinTwentynine PalmsUplandValenciaValley GlenValley VillageVan NuysVenturaVictorvilleWalnutWest CovinaWest HillsWest HollywoodWest Puente ValleyWestchesterWestminsterWestwoodWhittierWildomarWinnetkaWoodland HillsYorba Linda