FMLA Firings: Getting Fired for Taking Family Leave

My name is Robert Ottinger and I’m an employment lawyer. My law firm, The Ottinger Firm has been helping employees for over 20 years and we have offices in New York and California.

Have you ever had to take time off of work to care for or a sick parent or a child or even yourself if you’re sick? Well, you’re not alone because you know that happens to pretty much everybody at some point.   Take Kirsten, for example, she had to take time off to care for her mother. Kirsten was a fifth grade teacher at the time at the St James School in Torrance, California.  After her first year of teaching, Kirsten got a great review from the school’s principal, sister Mary Margaret. The evaluation said that Christian was really good at creating a safe and caring environment for her children. Well, sadly, six months later, Kirsten got some really bad news about her mom who was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Kirsten told the school she needed to take some time off to care for her mom during the surgery and chemotherapy and the law that she had to use to have the right to take this time off is called the family medical leave act. It’s also called the FMLA. This law gives every one of us, if you qualify, the right to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a sick family member.

Since Kirsten worked for a Catholic school, we would expect it mighty do the right thing for Kirsten at this time, like give her all the time off she needed and throw the full support of the church and the community be behind her. Is that what sister Mary Margaret did though? Sadly, it’s not.   Sister Mary Margaret fired Kirsten right after she asked for the time off.

So what do you think Kirsten did well? She used that law I just mentioned ,the family medical leave act and she sued the school for firing her.

Now under this law, the FMLA, it does give you the legal right to take time off to care for a sick parent, your kids, your spouse, and even you. It also says though, that it’s highly illegal to fire somebody who asked to use the FMLA.   Firing someone for trying to use the FMLA is called FMLA retaliation. This is a really strong law. It’s a federal law and it provides for mandatory doubling of damages.  If you have been fired over the family medical leave act, you might have a really strong case. If that’s you, please fill out this form on our website. It’s a very detailed form we designed it just for FMLA cases and I guarantee you the information you provide is confidential. We won’t share it with anyone. Thank you for watching and remember, if your rights are violated at work, call The Ottinger Firm.

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Robert Ottinger, Esq.

Robert Ottinger is an employment attorney who focuses on representing executives and employees in employment disputes. Before starting his firm, Robert slugged it out in courtrooms trying cases for the government. Robert served as a Deputy Attorney General for the California Department of Justice in Los Angeles and then as Assistant Attorney General for the New York Attorney General’s Office in Manhattan.

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