It can be difficult to juggle your family life and your job-related responsibilities, especially when someone is sick or you need time away to care for a child. There are certain laws in place that protect a California worker’s right to be with family during certain circumstances without losing a job or fearing some type of retaliation. It is in your interests to know about your rights and how you can exercise these rights when you need to. 

One thing you will need to know about is the Family and Medical Leave Act — legislation that allows workers to have time off for certain life events. Many types of workers are eligible to take FMLA leave, and you could be one of them. In the event that you need to take FMLA leave, you should be able to do so without suffering any type of consequences. If you experienced a violation of your rights, it could be grounds for legal action.

Do you know your rights?

The FMLA gives workers the right to unpaid leave for family-related needs. This means you can have time off to take care of things such as sick family members, health problems, newly adopted children or the birth of a baby. Under the FMLA, eligible employees have the right to take as much as 12 weeks off work in every 12-month period. This does not mean you will receive pay, but you will continue to enjoy your employer-provided benefits. 

There are many circumstances that could merit taking FMLA time. As long as you are eligible, you could take time off without penalty or job loss for any of the following reasons:

  • You recently had a baby or adopted a new child into your family.
  • You have a medical condition that leaves you unable to work.
  • You need to care for a child or family member who has a serious medical condition.

Not all employees are eligible for FMLA leave. If you know you are eligible, this law protects you against unlawful termination and other things that could compromise your career if you need time off. 

FMLA discrimination or retaliation

If you experienced retaliation or discrimination because you took FMLA leave, you do not have to suffer in silence. This kind of treatment is unacceptable, and you have the right to seek legal recourse against your employer. Through a civil claim, you may be able to seek financial compensation for hardship and duress, as well as other losses you experienced.