If you or your dependent has a serious medical condition, you have the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to deal with it. During that time, your employer in Missouri will protect your job so that you can return to the same position, with the same pay, after recovery. But, some may start to treat you harshly as revenge for taking time off work.
What constitutes unlawful retaliation?
Generally speaking, any adverse action that was taken against employees because they exercised their rights under the FMLA is unlawful retaliation. This can include anything from being passed over for a promotion to being terminated from your job.
Under Section 105 of the FMLA and Section 825.220 of the Code of Federal Regulations, it is unlawful for employers to “discharge or discriminate against an individual for opposing any practice made unlawful by the FMLA act or for involvement in any proceeding relating to the FMLA.” This means your employer cannot punish you for filing a complaint with the Department of Labor or for testifying in a proceeding related to the enforcement of the FMLA.
In addition, the law prohibits your employer from denying, restraining, or interfering with your FMLA rights. If you are eligible for the leave and have given your employer the proper notice, then your employer cannot stop you from taking the leave or force you to take it when you don’t want to.
What you can do if you’re a victim of retaliation
If you believe that your rights under the FMLA have been violated, you can file a complaint with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. You can also file a private lawsuit against your employer.
Additionally, it is important to act fast if you believe you have been the victim of retaliation. There are strict deadlines for filing a complaint with the Department of Labor and even more stringent deadlines for filing a private lawsuit. Usually, you have two years from the date of the retaliatory action, but it can be as short as 180 days in some cases.
Unlawful retaliation is a serious matter that can have a significant impact on your career and your livelihood. Having all of the information can help you make an appropriate decision.