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Understanding what constitutes a FMLA violation

Life is filled with many surprises and various ups and downs. While these events are just the natural parts of life, employees in Iowa and elsewhere might find it difficult to maintain a regular work schedule in order to address these life events appropriately. Because of that, the Family and Medical Leave Act provides for employees deemed eligible to take unpaid, job-protected leave for certain family and medical situations.

With FMLA, employees are able to maintain their health insurance coverage and benefits as if they did not take a leave. Employers are required to follow this regulation from an employees FMLA request until they return to work. Failure to do so could result in an FMLA violation and an available cause of action against the employer.

FMLA violations could occur in a variety of situations. For example, if an employer prohibits, interferes, restrains or denies an employee's exercise of or the attempt to exercise FMLA. An employer is also prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against an employee or a prospective employee for exercising or attempting to exercise his or her FMLA rights.

Other prohibited conduct by an employer includes the refusal to authorize FMLA leave for an eligible employee, discouraging an eligible employee from using his or her FMLA leave, manipulating an employee's work hours as an attempt to avoid responsibilities under FMLA, using an employee's request for or using FMLA as a means to initiate disciplinary actions against an employee or counting an employee's FMLA leave as no fault attendance policies.

If an employee has suffered because of a FMLA violation, it is possible to take action. An employee could file a civil action that could help compel compliance of these regulations. Additionally, this action could help with the recovery of compensation for losses and damages suffered.

Source: Dol.gov, "Protection for Individuals under the FMLA," accessed Oct. 30, 2017

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