If you’ve applied for an FMLA leave, the chances are that you already have enough to worry about, and having your application denied can feel like a disaster.
Your employer may have required you to “burn” through certain time on the books, like vacation and sick leave, during the weeks you are using FMLA—meaning that a denial could leave you without personal time for the rest of the year. Or, you might feel that you’re at risk of losing your job entirely.
What can you do to in the event that your employer denies an FMLA application? There are two avenues that can pursue:
1. Write the United States Department of Labor.
In clear and simple terms, explain your situation in a letter to the US Department of Labor. Letters can be mailed to:
Department of Labor
200 Constitution Ave. NW
Washington DC 20210
Note that, if there is a DOL location nearby, you can also address your letter to a local branch, or drop in to speak with a representative.
Once the DOL receives your complaint, they will investigate your reason for leave and your employer’s reason for denying your application to determine if you were denied FMLA rights.
In addition to, or instead of writing the DOL, you can also go directly to an employment attorney.
2. Consult with a California employment attorney.
In the event that you’ve been wrongfully denied FMLA, the law provides that you can be paid damages—this is compensation for any loss, injury, or harm that you suffered as a result of your denial.
What if you can’t afford to pay an employment attorney up front? Generally, the attorney can recover their fees during the suit, meaning that it’s often unnecessary to pay upfront.
There’s another circumstance in which consulting with an employment attorney is equally helpful: in the event of retaliation.
If your employer tries to do you some kind of damage because you took FMLA, or even just because you asked for it, an employment attorney may be able to help.
What counts as retaliation? If, after you take or enquire about FMLA, your employer tries to:
● Change your job
● Reduce your work hours
● Terminate your employment
It’s considered retaliation. If any of the above occurs, you can also write to the Department of Labor for an investigation. Learn more by visiting the agency’s website here: www.dol.gov
As with all legal matters legal, it’s important to speak with an attorney about your particular situation before making any assumptions about the potential outcome.
If you’re employed in Roseville or the greater Sacramento area, the experienced employment attorneys at Henk Leonard Law may be able to help. Contact us at (916) 787-4544 to schedule a consultation.