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My Employer Fired Me for Taking Leave. Is That Illegal?

My Employer Fired Me for Taking Leave. Is That Illegal?

Certain types of leave are protected under both federal and state law

My Employer Fired Me for Taking Leave. Is That Illegal?

In life, things happen — you get sick, a family member is ill, or a loved one passes away. In California, the law protects your ability to take certain types of leave from work to handle these and other matters. If your boss fires you for taking leave, then you may be able to file a lawsuit for wrongful termination.

As a California wrongful termination lawyer can explain, there are multiple types of leave that are protected under state and federal law. When leave is protected, it means that an eligible employee can take time off of work without losing their job. During protected leave, employers are required to continue to provide benefits and to allow an employee to resume their job when they return to work. These laws make it illegal to fire or discriminate against an employee who takes protected leave.

Employees in California can take protected leave for any number of reasons, including:

  • For drug or alcohol rehabilitation
  • To care for an ill relative (including a child, spouse, registered domestic partner or parent)
  • If they or their spouse is called to active duty
  • For disability related to pregnancy
  • For issues related to domestic violence
  • To welcome a new child via birth, adoption, or foster care
  • For bereavement
  • If they are ill (sick leave)
  • To vote
  • To address their own serious health condition, which includes an illness, injury, impairment, or mental condition that involves inpatient care or continuing treatment by a health care provider
  • For jury duty or to comply with a subpoena

In addition, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to care for a family member, including a new child, or to take care of their own health condition. Generally, protected leave is unpaid, although California law may require employers to pay employees for certain types of leave, such as paid sick leave. During the COVID-19 pandemic, California expanded the rules regarding paid sick leave so that workers who contract coronavirus through their jobs will be paid for their time off to quarantine and/or recover.

This leave doesn’t have to be taken all at once. Instead, it may be taken intermittently, provided that a reduced schedule doesn’t interfere with the employer’s business to an unreasonable degree.

If you are terminated or otherwise treated unfairly after you take protected leave, then you may be able to file a lawsuit with the help of a California wrongful termination lawyer. In this type of claim, you may be able to recover compensation for back pay, future wages, lost benefits, as well as other forms of damages, such as legal costs and fees and liquidated damages.

At PLBSH, our team of highly skilled employment attorneys are dedicated to helping employees throughout California who have experienced injustice or unfairness at work. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact us today at (800) 435-7542 or info@plbsh.com.

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