Family Medical Leave Actby Loring Spolter, Esquire
Workplace Rights for Cancer Patients and their Family Members
Loring N. Spolter, Esquire, practices in the field of employment discrimination
in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
To qualify for FMLA leave, employees must:
- have worked for their current employer for no less than 1,250 hours over 12 consecutive months;
- be a part of a workforce having no less than 50 employees within 75 miles of their jobsite; and
- intend to return to their jobs at the end of their leave period.
While FMLA protects employees working for the private sector and the Federal Government, a growing number of judges are ruling state and local governments don't have to comply with this law. However, many states and municipalities have FMLA-type laws or regulations protecting those within their employ.
When winning FMLA cases at trial, judges are obligated to award employees an amount equal to double their actual lost wages and certain expenses such as monies paid for COBRA coverage or unpaid medical bills resulting from lapses on insurance payments. Only those employers managing to prove that they broke the law in "good faith" escape the doubling feature, but still remain liable for the actual economic damages they caused.
Judges may also require employers to compensate workers for lost future wages. Reimbursement for so called "front pay" or the differential for what will be earned months or years ahead at one's replacement job as compared to wages paid by the violating FMLA company, can be significant. Also, employees who prevail at trial are typically awarded additional monies for attorneys fees and certain litigation costs.