My Employer is Discriminating Against Me for Taking Time Off Under the FMLA

Web Admin - Friday, May 06, 2016

employer discrimination, taking FMLA, Illinois Employment Law AttorneyMost workers have a federally protected right under the Family And Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to take up to 12 weeks off from work, unpaid, to care for themselves or a close family member who is sick or injured. Additionally, workers do not have to fear losing their job or being discriminated against or retaliated against. 

If you believe that you are an employee who is eligible for FMLA protection, but are worried that your employer has unlawfully violated your FMLA rights, you should consult with an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible.

Examples of When a Person Can Take Time Off Under the FMLA

There are several instances when a worker can take unpaid leave from his or her job under the FMLA. Examples include:

- When a worker is ill, injured, or has a serious medical condition;

- When a worker needs to provide care for his or her spouse, child, or parent who has a serious medical condition or illness;

- When a worker is incapacitated due to pregnancy;

- When a worker needs prenatal care before a child birth;

- Child birth;

- When a worker needs to provide care to his or her newborn child; or

- A worker is pacing a child up for adoption or into foster care. 

How Do Workers Use FMLA Leave?

When a worker has notice ahead of time that he or she will need to take time off from work under the FMLA, he or she must provide his or her employer with 30 days of notice if possible. When advanced notice is not possible, or the need to take time under the FMLA is sudden and unplanned, workers need to provide notice as soon as possible. Works must follow their employer’s normal policies concerning taking leave. 

Employers Must Respect Your FMLA RIghts

If you are a worker who is eligible for FMLA protection, then your employer must comply with the law and allow you to take the qualifying time that you need. Employers are not permitted to interfere with your rights under the FMLA, nor can an employer restrain you or deny you your FMLA rights. Your employer is also prohibited from discharging you, or discriminating against you, for exercising your rights under the FMLA. 

Discrimination could take the form of:

- Treating you differently after you took FMLA time off;

- Denying you promotions or certain work projects or assignments;

-Giving you a bad review for no good reason other than that you took time off under the FMLA; and/or

- Deeming you ineligible for promotions or bonuses because you took time off under the FMLA. 

No one who is eligible for FMLA protections should be denied his or her rights by his or her employer. If you believe that your employer has improperly taken action against you or has discriminated against you for taking unpaid leave under the FMLA, you should consult with an Illinois employment law attorney today. 

Our law firm serves the communities of Crystal Lake, Des Plaines, Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg, Palatine, Buffalo Grove, Barrington, Inverness, and Deer Park. Please call 847-934-6000 to speak to a member of our team.

    Ken Apicella

    About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


What is Wrongful Termination?

Web Admin - Friday, April 08, 2016

wrongful termination, Illinois Employment Law AttorneysLoosing a job can be devastating to both you and your family. However, because Illinois is an at-will employment state, employers are generally allowed to terminate employees for whatever reasons they so choose. Still, this is not to say that all bases for termination are legal. 

When you are concerned that your employment termination was a wrongful termination, or you believe that your termination was in some way illegal, then you should discuss your case with an experienced employment law attorney to learn more about your rights.

Wrongful Termination 

There are legal protections in place to protect workers from wrongful termination. “Wrongful termination” does not necessarily mean that you feel your termination is unfair or unjustified. Rather, “wrongful termination” implies that the termination violates the law in some way. An employer may not terminate an employee for the following reasons:

- If the termination would violate an employment contract;

- If the termination was made on a discriminatory basis;

- If the termination is retaliatory for the employee exercising his or her rights. For instance, the following are impermissible grounds upon which to terminate an employee: 

- Filing a worker’s compensation claim;

- Filing a workplace safety complaint; 

- Filing a sexual harassment action; and

- Reporting wrongdoing in the company, i.e., whistle-blowing. 

- For taking legally protected time off from work for things such as jury duty, military leave, or time needed to care for oneself or his or her family members under the Family Medical Leave Act. 

Each of the above identified grounds for a termination would be a “wrongful termination” since each one violates the law in some way. 

Employment Contracts

Employees who have an employment contract are not considered to be “at will” employees. Rather, employment contracts impose a legal obligation between the employer and the employee—the employee will remain employed until the termination of the contract. Early termination of the employee would be an early termination of the contract, which is a violation of the terms of the contract. 

Discriminatory Termination 

Termination of an employee on the basis of discrimination is a violation of state and federal employment discrimination laws. There are certain legally protected statuses upon which an employee cannot be discriminated. These include the employee’s age, sex, race, religion, disability, national origin, pregnancy, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, unfavorable military discharge, arrest record, and lack of a permanent mailing address.

Retaliatory Termination

Employees have certain protected rights in Illinois under the Illinois Whistleblower Act and Illinois case law. Under these laws workers are allowed to exercise their rights without having to fear being terminated from their job. Employees can report instances of illegal conduct to the appropriate government authorities, and can also refuse to participate in company activities that the worker believes to be illegal. 

Employment law issues, such as wrongful termination, can be confusing. However, a skilled attorney can help. Please contact one of our experienced Illinois employment law attorneys today. Our Illinois law firm serves the communities of Schaumburg, Des Plaines, Rolling Meadows, Barrington, Palatine, Crystal Lake, Buffalo Grove, Arlington Heights, Inverness, and Deer Park. Please call 847-934-6000 to speak to a member of our team.

    Ken Apicella

    About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.





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