FMLA Lawyers in Atlanta Help Enforcement Protections for Employees and Companies

Georgia labor attorneys counsel on workers’ rights to temporary leaves

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) recognizes the need for employees to take time off from work to handle matters, such as caring for a loved one or attending to their own health issues. The lawyers at DeLong, Caldwell, Bridgers, Fitzpatrick, & Benjamin, LLC in Atlanta are committed to protecting employees’ rights under the FMLA and to representing employers on compliance issues.

"Mr. Fitzpatrick took the time to listen and empathize with my situation. He provided sound suggestions and options. Thank you!"

Knowledgeable legal counselors explain FMLA provisions

The FMLA allows eligible employees to take unpaid leave for specified family and medical reasons without jeopardizing their jobs. If the employee is covered by employer-provided health insurance, that coverage must continue during the leave.

An employer must abide by the FMLA if it had at least 50 employees for at least 20 weeks during the current or previous year and:

  • The covered employee worked there for at least a year.
  • The employee worked at least 1,250 hours per year.
  • At least 50 company employees work within 75 miles of the affected employee.

If the need to take a leave is foreseeable, the employee is required to give up to 30 days’ notice to the employer. The employee must be reinstated at the end of the granted leave unless the position was eliminated for unrelated reasons or reinstating the employee would cause “substantial and grievous economic injury” to the company. In the latter case, the employee must be warned in advance.

The types of leave covered under the FMLA

An eligible employee may take up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave in each 12-month period for any of these reasons:

  • Childbirth and childcare for a year after birth
  • Adopting a child or accepting a foster child, and caring for that child for the next year
  • Care of a spouse, child or parent with a serious medical condition
  • Tending to a serious illness through medical leave when unable to work
  • Certain circumstances involving a family member’s active military service, such as military events, arranging childcare, quality time with the family member before deployment or during leave, and counseling

If a military servicemember who is the employee’s spouse, child, parent or next of kin suffers a serious service-related medical condition, the employee may take up to 26 nonrenewable workweeks for each service member in a 12-month period.  If the employer offers paid leave, it may be used during FMLA leave in certain circumstances. An employer might even require a worker to exhaust their paid leave during their FMLA leave.

Tenacious advocates handle disputes over alleged FMLA violations

An employer is potentially liable under the FMLA if it:

  • Fails to authorize leave when an employee meets the statutory requirements
  • Cuts off an employee’s health insurance during leave
  • Disciplines, discharges or harasses an employee because of the FMLA leave
  • Fails to reinstate the employee to their prior position, except in legally permitted circumstances

Our labor and employment lawyers have appeared on both sides of FMLA disputes. As attorneys for plaintiffs, we can seek multiple remedies for an employer’s failure to comply with the FMLA, including:

  • A court order protecting the employee from future violations
  • Back pay and front pay that is lost due to the violation
  • In cases of employer bad faith, liquidated damages equal to the amount of lost pay
  • Attorneys’ fees and court costs

As defense attorneys, we raise all available defenses, including good faith, and whenever possible work to achieve compliance with the least amount of exposure to damages.

Contact a Georgia law firm experienced in family and medical leave issues

When you need help enforcing your rights under the FMLA as employer or employee, call DeLong, Caldwell, Bridgers, Fitzpatrick, & Benjamin, LLC at 470-443-0524 or contact us online to arrange for a consultation. Our Atlanta office has convenient on and off-street parking and is ADA accessible.