If you or your family member are sick or you welcome a child into your family, you should have the time and opportunity to focus on these events. Because this can be all but impossible when you must go to work every day, taking job-protected leave can be immensely valuable.
Eligible employees have this option per the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Maryland laws like the Healthy Working Families Act. However, some employers do not comply with these laws.
Examples of leave violations
There are several ways that an employer might violate a person’s right to sick or safe leave. Some common examples include:
- Wrongfully claiming you are not eligible for leave
- Firing you while you are on medical, family or sick leave
- Miscalculating the amount of leave you have
- Denying your request to take time off in increments
- Wrongfully withholding employee benefits during leave
- Falsifying your employment records or hours to avoid leave-related responsibilities
- Firing, demoting or otherwise retaliating against you for requesting leave
- Withholding pay if you are taking paid leave
These represent some of the prohibited actions employers cannot take against an employee exercising their rights to sick, medical or family leave. Unfortunately for workers, too many employers skirt their legal responsibilities, hoping the employee will not notice or hold them accountable.
Individuals can protect themselves from these and other unlawful actions in a few ways. The first is to familiarize yourself with your rights. You can talk to your boss or someone in Human Resources and review leave policies in your employee handbook if there is one. You can also contact an attorney with questions or concerns.
Another vital measure to take is documenting exchanges regarding your leave. Hold on to emails, voicemails and other forms of communication between you and your employer.
When an employer violates an employee’s right to take leave protected by state and federal laws, the individual can experience considerable financial, physical and mental damage. Being aware of these violations can make it easier for a person to spot them and take legal action when they occur.