Medical Leave Attorneys in Atlanta Address Employer and Employee Concerns

Established firm helps Georgia workers and businesses deal with health-related time off

An employee’s right to medical leave is protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), but not all companies and employees are covered by it. An employer is covered only if it had at least 50 employees for at least 20 weeks during the current or previous year. Employees are covered if:

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

If an employee is eligible for medical leave, they may take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period, renewable after the 12 months elapse. They must give notice of their need for a medical leave as soon as they reasonably can or 30 days in advance, whichever is shorter. An employer may require the employee to have a doctor certify their medical condition and to supply updates on the condition.

Once the employee returns to work, the employer must reinstate them in the position they held, or an equivalent one, unless:

  • The position was eliminated for unrelated reasons.
  • The employee’s salary ranks them among the top 10 percent of the company’s highest-salaried employees within 75 miles and reinstating the employee would cause “substantial and grievous economic injury” to the company. If those are the alleged reasons, the employer must warn the employee in advance.

An employee’s health insurance must be continued during FMLA leave on the same terms as before the leave. Beyond the FMLA, the Americans with Disability Act, including the ADAAA (ADA Amendments Act of 2008), may also be implicated when an employee’s medical condition affects their workplace performance.

What conditions make an employee eligible for medical leave?

We advise employees on whether they are entitled to medical leave and what they need to do to claim it. To be eligible for medical leave, there must be a “serious medical condition” that prevents the employee from working. That condition may involve:

  • In-patient medical treatment
  • Incapacity for more than three days, followed by continuing treatment beginning no more than seven days after the incapacity began
  • Pregnancy or prenatal care
  • Chronic, serious health conditions that require at least two visits a year to the doctor, continue over an extended time and may cause episodic incapacity
  • Permanent or long-term incapacity
  • Multiple treatments for a condition that would require an absence of more than three days if not treated or for surgery to treat an accident or injury

We also counsel employers on FMLA compliance issues to avoid disputes over whether particular conditions make an employee eligible for leave.

Proven advocates represent both sides on alleged violations of rights

Whether deliberately or by mistake, there are several ways in which an employer can be potentially liable for not complying with the FMLA. An employer may not:

  • Discourage an employee from taking leave
  • Discipline or discharge an employee for taking leave
  • Require more advance notice than is statutorily required
  • Stop the employee’s health insurance
  • Harass the employee during leave or pressure them to return early
  • Fail to reinstate the employee as required

Contact a Georgia employment lawyer advocating for help with medical leave

DeLong, Caldwell, Bridgers, Fitzpatrick, & Benjamin, LLC offers legal counsel to employers and employees regarding the law governing medical leave from work. Call us 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.