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.


The Family Medical Leave Act

Web Admin - Thursday, May 21, 2015

FMLA, Illinois, Crystal Lake employment lawyerFor various medical-related reasons, it may be necessary for a person to temporarily stop working. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides individuals with a means for doing this without running the risk of losing their job. It is important for both employers and employees to understand this special area of employment law.

What Does the FMLA Provide?

The FMLA allows workers to take an unpaid leave of absence from work for specified medical and family purposes with the continuation of insurance coverage according to the same provisions as if the employee did not take the leave of absence. Under the FMLA, an employer must return the employee to the same job or one that is nearly identical or equivalent. A nearly identical job includes the following:

  1. - Identical pay and benefits;
  2. - The same shift or general work schedule;
  3. - A geographically proximate worksite; and
  4. - The same or substantially similar duties, responsibilities, and status.

An eligible employee is eligible for 12 workweeks of leave in a one-year period for:

  1. - Childbirth and to provide for the child within twelve months of the birth;
  2. - The care of a child adopted or placed under foster care within one year of the placement of the child with the employee;
  3. - The care for a direct family member who has a serious health condition;
  4. - A health condition that prohibits the worker from being able to perform essential job functions; or
  5. - Any demand due to the fact that the employee’s direct family member is a covered military member on covered active duty, which is defined as duty during the deployment to a foreign country.

Alternatively, an eligible employee may be entitled to 26 workweeks of leave during a one-year period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness if the employee is the service member’s direct relative.


The FMLA applies to the following:

  • - Public agencies; and
  • - Private employers with 50 or more employees for at least 20 weeks in the current or previous calendar year.

In order for an individual to be eligible, the employee must:

  1. 1. Work for a covered employer;
  2. 2. Have worked 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start date of the leave;
  3. 3. Work at a location where the employer has 50 or more employees within 75 miles; and
  4. 4. Have worked for the employer for 12 months.

The 12 months of work does not need to be consecutive. Further, under most circumstances, only employment within the last seven years is counted.

For more information about the requirements of the FMLA, whether you are an employer or employee, you should speak with an experienced Illinois employment law attorney. Our firm represents clients throughout the northwest suburbs, including Deer Park, Buffalo Grove, and Crystal Lake. 

Ken ApicellaAbout 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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