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Family and Medical Leave Act: Preventing interference

Federal law protects employees who have to take foreseeable or sudden leave from their jobs. A law called the Family and Medical Leave Act gives employees who meet certain qualifications up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from the job every 12 months without endangering their employment status. If an employer in Wisconsin prevents an employee from taking FMLA, or retaliates against the employee for taking the leave, that is known as FMLA interference. 

An employer has a duty to inform employees of the FMLA guidelines per the U.S. Department of Labor. Typically, these policies are posted somewhere in the work environment and included in employee handbooks. An employee must inform the employer in as far advance as possible that FMLA will be used, and they must also follow any written or verbal reporting requirements as set by the employer. If the employee cannot inform the company directly, then it is permissible to send a family member or another person to give the FMLA notice. 

An employee may not be disciplined as a result of leave taken for this purpose. Further, the employee cannot be fired if the leave is within the confines of the law. An employer can request supporting medical certification from the employee.

If a person in Wisconsin has been denied leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, he or she has options available for legal recourse. Some individuals choose to consult with a lawyer for help concerning the next steps. It is possible that the person can be awarded back pay and damages if the individual has been a victim of FMLA interference. 

Source:, "How to prevent Family and Medical Leave Act interference claims", Sarah O'Keefe, Oct. 2, 2017

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