After an accident, a victim may be physically unable to work. While they may be eligible for certain benefits through their employer, some employees fail to take necessary steps, oftentimes resulting in termination. Importantly, Colorado is at “at-will” employment state. Accordingly, except in cases involving protected classes of people, an employer can terminate an employee for little or no reason at all. It is therefore necessary for victims of personal injury to understand their rights related to their job.
What is the Family and Medical Leave Act?
The Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) is designed to provide employees temporary job security when faced with certain health-related care responsibilities that preclude them from working. The FMLA compels employees who employ 50 or more employees to grant qualifying employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for (1) birth and care of a child or placement for adoption or foster care of a child with the employee; (2) care of an immediate family member who has a serious health condition, or (3) care of the employee’s own serious health condition.
How is Eligibility Determined?
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s 76-page FMLA Guidebook, an employee to be eligible for FMLA, they must (1) have worked at least 12 months for the employer and (2) have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months immediately before the date FMLA leave begins. The employee commences the process by providing notice of the need for leave. The employee must provide sufficient facts to put the employer on notice the absence may be covered by FMLA. Once an employee provides the requisite notice, the responsibility shifts to the employer.
The employer must first determine if the employee is eligible and subsequently provide the employee with the Notice of Eligibility and Rights and Responsibility. Some entities require a certification of the employee’s need for leave. When applicable, the Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) will notify the employer to have the employee complete the certification within 15 days. After the employer finishes the certification process, it must tell the employee in writing whether the request for leave is approved. At this point, the employer will provide the employee with a designation notice, a form provided by WHD.
What Happens When the Employee Can Return to Work?
Importantly, once the employee is on leave, the employer is legally obligated to maintain his or her health insurance benefits. This is a critical aspect of the FMLA. Once the employee comes back to work, the employer must return him or her to the same position or an equivalent one. It is illegal for an employer to interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of or the attempt to exercise any right provided under the FMLA. Additionally, it is illegal for an employer to terminate or discriminate against any employee for opposing any practice, or because of involvement in any situation related to the FMLA. The WHD is responsible for administrating and enforcing the FMLA. In the event an employee has a claim against his employer for wrongful termination or discrimination, he or she must file a complaint with the WHD or file a private lawsuit against the employer.
Contact Bowman Law LLC Following an Accident
Our Denver personal injury law firm has considerable experience helping clients with FMLA requests. We have amassed a great deal of knowledge about all aspects of FMLA through our work on behalf of our clients and are happy to share information with you. If you have been injured in an accident, you should contact the Denver personal injury law firm of Bowman & Chamberlain, LLC. Our employees can help you navigate the otherwise confusing and time-consuming system. Call us at 720.863.6904 or email us. Our lawyers handle a wide range of personal injury cases, including Motor Vehicle Accidents, Bicycle Accidents, Pedestrian Accidents, Slip & Fall Accidents, and Dog Bites & Attacks.
We service Arvada, Aurora, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Commerce City, Lakewood, Littleton, Thornton, Westminster, Wheat Ridge, and other parts of metropolitan Denver, Colorado.
Owner and Managing Attorney
Jerry Bowman, J.D., M.A., Owner and managing attorney of Bowman Law LLC, takes his responsibility to the legal profession seriously and dedicates his time and effort to providing quality and competent legal representation to clients in Denver and throughout all of Colorado. He holds an MA in Political Science from Wayne State University and earned his law degree in two and a half years from Michigan State University College of Law.