Companies in West Virginia that fit criteria for complying with the Federal Medical Leave Act must offer the benefits to any eligible employee. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, if you have worked for your employer for at least 12 months and have put in a minimum of 1,250 hours over the last year, you are likely eligible. Unfortunately, FMLA violations are not uncommon in the workplace. Here are a few common violations that you should have on your radar when you apply for leave.
Perhaps most importantly, your employer cannot deny you the right to use FMLA or discourage you from using it. They cannot refuse to authorize your leave as long as you have met the eligibility requirements. If your company has a "no-fault" attendance policy, the time you take off during FMLA leave cannot be counted towards that total. In addition, your employer cannot pressure you to return from leave early or constantly interfere with your time off. Checking in from time to time is acceptable but it should be kept to a minimum.
You cannot be discriminated against simply because you have utilized FMLA. This includes being disciplined, terminated, losing out on a promotion or given a poor performance review as a direct result of being on FMLA leave. You cannot face negative backlash down the road due to exercising your right to take medical leave. If you have made any complaints about unlawful practices regarding FMLA, that, too, cannot be held against you.
While on leave, your benefits cannot be terminated. If you do miss a payment while gone that would affect your healthcare, you must be given written notice at least two weeks before the policy will end in order to remedy the issue.
Once you have given two days' notice, you should be reinstated back at your place of employment. If the position you occupied prior to leave is no longer available, you must be given one that is equivalent. This means your pay, duties, schedule and benefits are comparable to those of your former position. You are also still entitled to any automatic raises that would have occurred while you were on leave.
This post is meant to educate only and should not be used in lieu of professional legal counsel.