How to know if your rights have been violated
If you qualify for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and your employer must recognize it, your rights may have been violated under the following circumstances:
- You have a serious health condition and your employer denied your request to take medical leave up to 12 weeks;
- You must care for your parent, spouse, or child with a serious health condition and your employer denied your request to take medical leave up to 12 weeks or up to 26 weeks for military caregiver leave;
- You are a parent who welcomed a biological child, adopted child, foster child, or step child to your family and your employer denied your request to take unpaid family leave up to 12 weeks to bond with a newborn or newly placed child;
- You have a parent, spouse, or child that is an active duty military member in the National Guard or Reserves and your employer denied your request to take leave to deal with a qualified exigency, such as to attend military functions, and arranging for childcare;
- Your employer denied your request to take medical leave in parts or denied your request to work reduced hours to accommodate your serious health condition or to care for a parent, spouse, or child with a serious health condition;
- Your employer asked you to provide medical information that is not related to the serious health condition that caused you to take leave for yourself or your family;
- Your employer failed to keep all of your medical information confidential;
- Your employer asked you to get a second or third medical certification opinion without a legitimate reason or your employer failed to pay for the second or third medical opinion;
- Your employer gave you less than 15 calendar days to obtain a medical certification;
- Your employer demanded that you provide copies of medical records outside of the medical certification;
- Your employer transferred you to a different position that does not have the same pay or benefits during your leave;
- Your employer did not give you the same benefits during your leave that you would have if you were on the job; or
- Your employer did not give you the same job or a similar job with the same benefits once your leave was over.
How to protect orenforce your FMLA rights
The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division administers and enforces the FMLA. Claims should be made within 2 years of the violation and can be made by phone, by mail, or in person at the local DOL Wage and Hour Division office. There is no specific form that needs to be filed, but complaints should contain the following information: your name, your address, your phone number, employer name, employer address, employer phone number, manager or owner name, a description of the circumstances surrounding your request for leave, a description of your employer’s response to your leave request including why you think your FMLA rights were violated.
If the DOL decides to take action on your complaint, it will attempt to negotiate with your employer on your behalf to seek a resolution. If the negotiations fail and the DOL believes that your FMLA rights were violated, in rare circumstances the DOL may sue the employer on your behalf.
US Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Chicago District Office:
230 S. Dearborn Street, Room 412
Chicago, IL 60604
Phone: (312) 789-2950
Springfield Area Office:
3161 W. White Oaks Drive, Suite 203
Springfield, IL 62704
Phone: (217) 793-5028
St. Louis District Office:
1222 Spruce Street, Room 9.102B
St. Louis, MO 63103
Phone: (314) 539-2706
You may also file a civil lawsuit against your employer in court within 2 years from the date when your FMLA rights were first violated. If you are successful in your lawsuit, the court can order you to be reinstated to your job. In this alternative, you could potentially recover a judgment for wages and benefits lost, out of pocket costs to provide care, liquidated damages, reasonable attorney fees, expert witness fees, and costs.