Carlin & Buchsbaum, LLP
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Family and Medical Leave Act and parents of special needs kids

California parents know that there are certain laws that protect their right to take time off when they adopt, welcome a baby or take in foster children to add to their family. The Family and Medical Leave Act allows these parents to take a certain amount of time off without fearing they will lose their jobs or face some kind of retaliation. A new ruling from the U.S. Department of Labor is now saying that parents can also take FMLA to address meetings related to the special needs of their children.

Parents of special needs children often have to attend meetings regarding their kids' education. It takes a significant amount of time and often several face-to-face meetings with medical professionals and educators to get the right plan in place. It can also require a lot of time away from work simply for a parent to get an accurate diagnosis, the right treatment and support.

The DOL has ruled that these are all legitimate reasons to take FMLA leave. Unfortunately, employers are not always cooperative with their employees' efforts to take rightful time off. It is in the interests of each California worker who has a special needs child to know his or her rights and what to do if there are issues when securing FMLA leave.

The intent of the Family and Medical Leave Act is to protect families. If an employer violates the rights of an employee because the worker asks for FMLA time off, that could be grounds for a civil claim. A victim of any type of discrimination or retaliation may want to seek an evaluation of his or her situation as soon as possible. 

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