Leave rights have become a much-discussed topic in the area of labor and employment law. The law provides that all decision regarding leave should be made fairly. This means that identifying traits such as race, gender, national origin or whether or not someone is disabled, should not be considered in making decisions regarding leave. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Thus, it is important for employee’s to know their rights regarding leave in order to hold their employer’s accountable.
Leave At the Federal Level
In terms of Federal Law, there are two different legislative decisions that discuss the regulations regarding leave rights in the workplace. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act guarantees that all employees have the same access to leave regardless of the age, sex, nationality, disability, race or religion of that employee. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides a guideline regarding employee rights and employer restrictions that are associated with leave.
According to the FMLA, every employee has the right to a specific number of days of leave based on the reason that absence is requires. The FMLA provides for a maximum of 12 weeks of absence. Certain examples for taking leave include caring for a newborn child or a seriously ill family member. The FMLA also provides that every employee has equal access to leave and that leave regulations will be applied in the same for all workers. It is important to note that employer’s are not required to compensate their employee’s while they are on leave. Although some employer choose to do so, they are not mandated to by the FMLA or Title VII.
Furthermore, after an employee returns from leave, they law provides that they are reinstated to their previous position or an equivalent position. For example, if a female employee is a supervisor at their respective job and is demoted upon return from maternity leave, then that may be a violation of federal law. The law protects employee from discrimination by their employers upon their return from leave.
Oftentimes, employees are unaware of the rights and benefits they are associated with in the workplace. For that reason, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as well as the FMLA, require employers to publicly post information on leave programs in the workplace. These laws ensure employee are reliably informed about their leave rights.
Leave At the State Level
Though every state has its own set of leave laws, often times, the language of that law reflects that of the FMLA. However, if a specific states leave laws provide employees with more comprehensive benefits and protections than those provided by federal law, then federal law mandates the employer to follow the state law.
For example, in California, the law provides workers with leave rights in circumstances where they need to take time off to care for a relative, their own personal illness or the birth or adoption of a child. California also provides for a specific type of leave known as educational leave. This gives employees up to 40 hours of leave reserved for employees that need to visit their child’s school. Furthermore, under California law, a pregnant mother can take up to 28 weeks of leave for pregnancy and newborn care.
California also provided employees with another benefit know as State Disability Insurance. State Disability Insurance is essentially provides paid for those employees who will be missing a significant amount of time due to leave. California is one of the few states that provides employees with any kind of paid leave. Even though federal law does not mandate it, employers in California with more than 50 employees are required to abide by these state laws.
Sex Discrimination and Leave Time
If you feel as though there are discrepancies in the way leave is applied at your workplace, then you may have a legal claim against your employer. The provisions set forth in the FMLA, Title VII and state law must be applied uniformly without consideration of gender. Furthermore, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has addressed issues with disparate treatment on the basis of gender in regards to granting leave.
The laws governing leave are complex. There are strict regulations governing the process for filing a lawsuit. Furthermore, there are strict time restrictions, known as statute of limitations, as to when a lawsuit can be filed. The experienced attorneys at Shegerian Conniff are ready to hold your employer accountable, fight for your legal rights, and seek justice. Click here to contact us today or call us at 310-322-7500 for a free consultation.