Previous posts on this blog have explained how many employers in Rhode Island have to provide an unpaid leave for employees who are dealing with their own health condition or that of certain family members. This is pursuant to the Family Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, and it also applies to other situations.
There are two important basic concepts a worker needs to remember about the FMLA. First, the worker has to qualify for the leave, and this involves several important legal prerequisites. For instance, the worker has to have worked for a certain amount of time for an employer, and the employer itself has to be large enough to fall under the FMLA. Otherwise, if a worker needs leave for an illness, they can only hope in the good graces of their employer.
Moreover, as a previous post explained, workers also have to demonstrate that they indeed have a serious medical condition or otherwise qualify for the unpaid leave. Getting FMLA leave time is not simply a matter of calling in sick for the day.
On the flip side, if a worker qualifies for the leave, then an employer has to grant it an must do so without reservation. An employer will of course rarely come out and say that it intends to ignore the FMLA, but it is more common for an employer to subtly get rid of an employee who is deemed to costly to keep around, specifically because that employee took leave.
For these reasons, it is a good idea for a worker who has an issue with getting FMLA, or who feels his or her employer is retaliating against the worker for taking the leave, to get the experience and advise of a Rhode Island employment law attorney. In this respect, our law office consults with and represents employers from all industries and professions with respect to FMLA disputes and issues.