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What is FMLA interference?

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2023 | Family And Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Employers in Rhode Island can’t interfere with your FMLA rights. If they do, then you could take legal action to protect your ability to take family and medical leave. Interference isn’t just the obvious forms, such as attempting to prevent you from taking time off from work. It could be more subtle or unintentional. Both employers and employees should understand what counts as interference to protect themselves.

Discouraging employees from taking time off

Employers can’t suggest that you wait a few days to take FMLA leave. That would count as discouraging you from tending to your health issues or those of a family member. Some employers have tried indirect discouragement, such as making you agree to certain conditions upon returning to work. The Family and Medical Leave Act protects you against this. You have the right to receive medical care or look after a sick family member without needing to work overtime or be put through other conditions when you return to the workplace.

Asking employees to work while they are on FMLA leave

It’s illegal for employers to ask employees to complete any type of work while they’re on FMLA leave. They can’t even contact you about work-related matters during your time away. Keep a record of FMLA violations to support your case if you need to take legal action.

Retaliating when employees return

FMLA violations include retaliation, not just interference before or during an employee’s leave. Employers can’t fire, demote or otherwise punish you for taking time off from work under the FMLA. You may want to keep a journal of how your employer treats you upon returning to work if they are acting differently than before.

Employees have certain FMLA rights that the federal government guarantees. Employers aren’t allowed to directly or indirectly interfere with an employee’s choice to take time off from work. Employees don’t need permission for when they leave either when it comes to an issue that’s covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act.