FMLA Lawyer in Los Angeles
(Family Medical Leave Act)
California Family Rights Act (CFRA)


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Depending on the number of employees working for your employer at or near your work site, you may be legally entitled to take medical leave under either the federal "Family Medical Leave Act" or the state "California Family Rights Act." Except for a couple of exception, these two Acts are identical, and claims can be brought under either one or both. If your are entitled to take such leave, your employer cannot fire you or otherwise retaliate against you for exercising this right. This legal right applies even to "at-will" employees, and allows an employee who has been victimized by an employer that has refused to meet its obligations under these Acts to bring a lawsuit for damages against the employer. Such an employee may even be awarded reimbursement for attorney fees.  

General Provisions

An employee entitled to FMLA or CFRA leave is entitled to take a total of up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for the following purposes: 

- a serious health condition of the employee that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her positions;

  - the care of spouse, son, daughter, or parent of the employee who has a serious health condition;
- the birth of a son or daughter of the employee and the care of such son or daughter; or
- the placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care. 

Depending on the circumstances, leave authorized under FMLA or CFRA does not have to be taken consecutively, but cannot exceed 12 weeks during any 12-month period.


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25 Years Experience
Mr. Johnston has been a lawyer for more than 25 years, and has many years experience in representing employees bringing claims under the FMLA and/or the CFRA. If you have been terminated or otherwise discriminated against for exercising your legal right to take leave under these Acts, we invite you to contact our office and make an appointment to speak with attorney Johnston about your case.  

FMLA Links

Department of Labor FMLA Fact Sheet

AFL-CIO FMLA Information

California Family Rights Act Information Page


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Do I Qualify for FMLA or CFRA Leave?
Employees are eligible to take FMLA/CFRA leave if they have worked for their employer for at least 12 months, and have worked for at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months, and work at a location where at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles.

What If I Work For a Smaller
Employer, or Worked Fewer Than 1250 Hour?
If your need for medical leave was triggered because you have a medical condition that qualifies as a disability, your employer may be required to accommodate that disability by providing you medical leave, even if you are not entitled to leave under FMLA or CFRA.

Advance Notice and Medical
An employee seeking leave under FMLA or CFRA must provide notice of his or her intent to take such leave not less than 30 days before leave is to begin or, in emergencies, as soon as is practical. Also an employer can require an employee to provide a certification from a doctor that FMLA or CFRA leave is needed. The employer also can require the employee to get a second opinion from a doctor that the employer chooses and pays for. 

Employer's Obligations Under
Upon returning from medical leave taken under the FMLA or CFRA, the employer ordinarily must return the employee to either the same position that employee held prior to taking the leave, or to an equivalent position with the same benefits, statue, pay and other terms and condition of employment. 

Job Benefits and Protection 
Upon return from FMLA or CFRA leave, the employee must be returned to the same position or to an "equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay, status, and other terms and conditions of employment." An employee who takes FMLA leave is entitled to maintain health benefits coverage. An employee on unpaid FMLA leave may pay the employee share of the premiums on a current basis or pay upon return to work.


Selected FMLA Cases

Cooper v. Fulton County, Georgia (2006)(Eleventh Circuit; No. 05-12318) Summary judgment in favor of plaintiff, in claim against defendant county for FMLA violation, is affirmed over claims that: 1) plaintiff failed to notify defendant that his July 13, 1998 absence was due to a potentially FMLA-qualifying reason; 2) defendant's request for certification on July 13, 1998 was sufficient under the FMLA; and 3) the district court erred in awarding plaintiff liquidated damages. 

Darby v. Bratch, 287 F. 3d 673 (8th Cir.2002) Held that supervisors may have personal liability for FMLA violations.
Caldwell v. Holland of Texas, Inc., 208 F.3d 671 (8th Cir. 2000) The appeals court determined that the plaintiff's 
evidence showing that her three-year -old son sustained a sudden onset of an ear infection a condition that required immediate attention by a physician, a series of antibiotic treatments, and surgery may qualify as a "serious health condition"
entitling the employee to FMLA leave.

Faust v. California Portland Cement Company. California Court of Appeals, Second District, Division Three (2007) The appeals court held that the employer's failure to demonstrate it had posted the required notices regarding FMLA/ CFRA leave, and notified Faust of his right to CFRA leave precluded summary judgment against Faust. The CFRA regulations expressly state the employer's failure to give notice precludes the employer from denying leave because the employee failed to give adequate notice. The court further ruled that interference with CFRA merely requires proof that the employee was entitled to leave and the employer denied the leave. There is no "pretext" or "shifting burdens" analysis normally applicable to discrimination claims.





The above information is provided as a courtesy of The Johnston Law Firm, and constitutes only a brief summary of some general employment law, discrimination issues and related legal rights under California law.  As such it does not constitute legal advice, and you should contact an attorney to discuss any specific employment issue you may have.  For further questions, please contact our  office on the forms provided.

515 S. Flower Street, 36th Floor
Los Angeles, California 90071
(213) 291-6977

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