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California Family Rights Act Attorneys Beverly Hills & Rancho Cucamonga, CA

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California guarantees better working conditions than those that most other states provide.  Workers in California get better pay and more protection against non-compete provisions than the laws of other states provide, but what California does not have is a statewide guarantee of paid family leave or medical leave. Employment contracts may indicate a certain number of paid sick days per year or a certain number of weeks of paid parental leave when they welcome a new baby, but state law does not require any paid leave for medical treatment or family caregiving responsibilities.

Whether or not you have an employment contract, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) guarantees most workers the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from their jobs because of their own health conditions or the need to provide care for a family member, without fear of losing their jobs. The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) lawyers at Mehtani Law Offices, P.C. help employees understand their rights and protect themselves from unlawful retaliation when they take a leave of absence from work for medical reasons or family caregiving reasons.

How is the California Family Rights Act Different From FMLA?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is the federal law that guarantees most full-time workers the right to take an unpaid leave of absence from work because of the employee’s own illness or to care for a sick family member or a new baby. CFRA is the equivalent under California state law. FMLA and CFRA are much more alike than different. These are some of the provisions common to both laws:

  • You can take an unpaid leave of absence for up to 12 weeks.
  • You become eligible for FMLA or CFRA leave once you have worked for your employer for a year.
  • Your employer must allow you to return to your job after your leave of absence from work.
  • The family members whose care qualifies for an FMLA or CFRA leave include your spouse, your parents, your spouse’s parents, your children, your stepchildren, your siblings, your grandparents, and your grandchildren.
  • You can take FMLA or CFRA leave when a child joins your family through birth, adoption, or foster placement.

Meanwhile, these are some important differences between the FMLA and CFRA:

  • FMLA requires businesses that employ at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius to provide family and medical leave. CFRA imposes this requirement on all businesses that employ at least five workers. This means that more small business employees in California than in most other states have the right to family leave or medical leave.
  • Under federal law, pregnancy is an FMLA-eligible serious health condition, but under CFRA, it is not.  Pursuant to California law, pregnant women can take a pregnancy disability leave (PDL) for up to four months. After the baby is born, the same woman can take CFRA leave for up to 12 weeks to care for the baby.
  • All of the provisions of FMLA that apply to spouses, parents-in-law, and stepchildren only apply in the case of legally married couples, but CFRA expands these provisions so that they also apply to unmarried domestic partners. In other words, you can use CFRA leave to care for your domestic partner or your partner’s parent or child.
  • Provisions of FMLA that apply to the military service of the employee’s spouse are not part of CFRA.

In California, you cannot take FMLA leave separately from CFRA. When you take a CFRA leave, your FMLA leave runs concurrently with it.

Taking a Family Leave or Medical Leave is a Protected Activity

It is against the law for your employer to retaliate against you for taking CFRA leave. This means that, much like filing a workers’ compensation claim or reporting misconduct at your workplace, taking CFRA leave is a protected activity. Retaliation is when an employer takes an adverse action against an employee to punish the employee for engaging in a protected activity, which, by definition, is something that the employee has a legal right to do.

Adverse actions can include unnecessary additional supervision of your work, unfairly negative performance reviews, denials of promotions or raises for which you are eligible, assigning you to different work tasks or a different location or schedule when you did not request this, or termination of employment. A hostile work environment, which is where your employer harasses you or bullies you even without taking a specific adverse action, also counts as employer retaliation.

In some cases, retaliating against an employee for taking CFRA leave counts as discrimination.  For example, if the employee takes the CFRA leave because of a chronic illness, then the retaliation could be attributable to discrimination based on disability. If the employee takes the CFRA leave to care for his or her new baby, then the retaliation could count as discrimination based on family status or sex. When you explain the whole situation to the employer retaliation lawyers at Mehtani Law Offices, P.C., your lawyer will tell you more about which laws apply to your case.

A Beverly Hills Employment Lawyer Can Help You Resolve CFRA Disputes With Your Employer

When employers retaliate against employees who take CFRA leave, they do it because they think they can get away with it and that employees will not take the trouble to fight back. Filing a complaint after your employer retaliates against you for taking CFRA leave is well worth the effort, though.

Not only can the court order your employer to give you your job back, but the court might also award you compensation for the money you lost by losing your job in the first place. It could even reimburse you for the money you spent (or the money you owe) on legal fees. In some cases, plaintiffs in FCRA retaliation cases even receive noneconomic damages for emotional distress.

Contact Mehtani Law Offices, P.C. About CFRA Disputes

Mehtani Law Offices, P.C. is dedicated to helping workers in California exercise their right to take family leave or medical leave. Contact Mehtani Law Offices, P.C. in Beverly Hills, California, to schedule a consultation.

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