In the United States, laws like the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) enable employees to take time off from work in the event of medical or family obligations. Some employers refuse to honor these laws and reject requests for leave or punish employees after returning from their absence. Taking FMLA leave to care for one’s health or a loved one’s health shouldn’t negatively affect your professional life.
If you or someone you care for is experiencing retaliation from an employer for invoking FMLA or ADA rights, we at the Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor, P.C., can help you. If you feel your employer responded unfairly to your use of FMLA or ADA protections, contact our office to learn about your rights and next steps. Legal representation can empower you to fight for damages like lost wages, pain and suffering, and attorney fees.
On This Page
Can I Take FMLA Leave in Charlotte, North Carolina?
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) grants workers in the Charlotte area the right to take weeks or months away from work without punishment from their employers. FMLA covers public agencies such as local governments and public schools. It also extends to any private business with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile area. Employees with at least 12 months of tenure and 1,250 hours of work in the year before their leave can take advantage of FMLA. This act allows employees to take a leave of absence for medical and personal conditions like:
- Pregnancy or adoption.
- Fostering a child.
- Serious or chronic illness requiring treatment.
- Caring for a family member with an injury or serious health condition.
- Supporting a family member deployed with the National Guard and Reserve Personnel.
Employers will require employees to supply proof of their qualifying situation to take leave. Employees can use a U.S. Department of Labor form to certify the condition with a medical provider. Employers must give an employee at least 15 days to complete this process.
What Protections Does FMLA Give Workers in Charlotte, North Carolina?
FMLA guarantees that employees, of qualified businesses in Charlotte, who take an extended leave of absence for an approved reason return to an equivalent position at the company. Many companies may strive to offer the employee their original job, but a similar position with equivalent terms might be appropriate if business needs change. A comparable job has identical pay, location, schedule, benefits, and conditions.
What Counts as an FMLA Retaliation in Charlotte, North Carolina?
FMLA stops employers from retaliating against employees after a leave of absence because of medical or familial obligations. If it’s within the statute of limitations, you can sue to recover damages. Retaliation can include the following actions:
- Denying leave without explanation or effort.
- Assuming an employee can’t return to work.
- Encouraging employees to work while injured.
- Refusal to consider alternative accommodations.
- Discontinuation of protected benefits (like insurance).
- Willfully adjusting conditions of employment to avoid granting FMLA leave.
Can I Take ADA Leave in Charlotte, North Carolina?
The ADA requires accommodations for Charlotte-based employees who have a mental or physical incapacity that qualifies as a disability under the ADA. A leave of absence or time away from work is a form of accommodation under the ADA and can be an option for employees who aren’t yet eligible for FMLA leave. This act applies to any workplace with 15 or more employees. Employers might accommodate workers’ conditions by offering a temporary leave or other on-site adjustments to enable employees to perform their essential duties.
What Are the Conditions of ADA Leave in Charlotte, North Carolina?
Employers and employees often work together to decide on the conditions of an ADA leave in Charlotte. ADA requires employers to grant a reasonable amount of time off. The length of leave varies depending on the job, the severity of the disability, and the company’s financial position.
Meet with a doctor if you suspect you need time away from work to heal an injury or seek treatment. Employers may request documentation from medical professionals confirming the employee’s condition and recommending a recovery timeline. Make sure your doctor fills out the paperwork requested by your employer and turn the paperwork back in to your employer in a timely manner.
What Protections Does ADA Leave Offer in Charlotte, North Carolina?
In most situations, ADA requires Charlotte employers to keep an employee’s job open during a leave. If an employer proves that leave would cause significant hardship to the business, the employer can offer other solutions in place of a leave of absence. These accommodations might include changes in duties, location, or equipment.
ADA also implores employers to grant unpaid leave without punishment when paid leave isn’t an option. For example, if company policy only allows paid leave after one year of employment, a new employee with a serious diagnosis can pursue unpaid leave. The ADA also bans employers from requiring complete recovery before allowing you to return to work. If you can perform your job functions, you can return to your role under ADA.
How Do I Request ADA Leave from an Employer?
Under ADA, employers must offer reasonable accommodations to disabled employees. You can request time off to pursue medical care. You could also ask for environmental changes like ramps, special lighting, or translation services, modification of your job duties and other forms of accommodation. To ask your employer for help:
- State your request in writing. Get the forms from your HR department
- Explain how your request relates to your disability or injury and why it would make you more effective at your job.
- Submit your request to the human resources (HR) department. If you don’t have internal HR, you can submit your paperwork to your supervisor instead. If you have questions about where to submit your paperwork, review your employee handbook or the Company’s HR portal.
When writing your request, state that you have a disability. Any information you provide is private, and employers can’t ask for detailed medical information unless it’s directly related to the situation. If your employer denies the request, ADA requires the employer to work with you to find an alternative solution. This solution might mean changing your work conditions or offering you unpaid leave.
What Counts as ADA Retaliation in Charlotte, North Carolina?
Under ADA, employers can’t retaliate against employees who require or request leave. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines retaliation as any adverse action an employer takes toward an employee who uses ADA protections. While the EEOC doesn’t describe specific acts that qualify as retaliation, you may be able to seek damages from actions like:
- Unjust negative performance reviews.
- Heightened supervision.
- Overly critical employment references.
- Harassment or threats.
- Changes in pay.
What Should I Do If My Employer Punishes Me for Taking FMLA or ADA Leave?
If your employer punishes you for requesting or taking protected leave, first make a complaint in writing. You can turn this complaint into your company’s HR department. If you’re still employed, it helps if you stay in the job as long as possible. It’s often challenging to prove your claims if you quit.
Next, talk to FMLA attorneys. Statutes of limitations on these types of claims are shorter than many other lawsuits. You might have to file your lawsuit soon after your employer’s violations. If you think you have a claim, reach out to our offices immediately to schedule a free consultation. The EEOC requires you to report violations within 180 days before pursuing legal action.
What Fees Do You Charge to Represent Me in a FMLA or ADA Claim in Charlotte?
At our office, we handle fees on a contingency basis. We only charge attorney fees if you receive payment from the court. Contact our Charlotte office to speak with a professional about an ADA violation.
Contact Our FMLA and ADA Lawyers in Charlotte, North Carolina
If you suspect your employer violated your FMLA or ADA rights, our skilled Charlotte team at The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor, P.C., is prepared to fight for you. We never charge upfront fees, and it’s free for you to meet with one of our ADA lawyers for a consultation. Please get in touch with us to schedule a meeting to discuss your situation.
301 S McDowell St #1016
Charlotte, NC 28204