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Informed Employers Can Help Avoid FMLA/CFRA Lawsuits

California-based employers who employ 50 or more workers face regulations beyond the federal employment laws through the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), which expands employees’ rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The most common, Walmart, with stores in every state in the nation, is allegedly having issues adhering to the federal law and likely the California standard regarding its California locations.

FMLA and CFRA

Typically FMLA provides workers who qualify 12 weeks of unpaid medical and family leave with 26 weeks available to care for ill or injured service personnel. Unlike the FLMA, under the CFRA workers are also granted 12 weeks of medical and family leave but with remuneration to a certain percentage of an employee’s wage. This time off can be for an extended illness, to take care of a sick family member, or bond with a newborn or newly adopted child, among other scenarios. Workers have the right to take the leave all at once or intermittently, with few restrictions. Both the FMLA and CFRA prohibit retaliation or discrimination against a worker for exercising these rights or for giving information or testimony about alleged violations of the state or federal law.

The most common employer mistake is failing to grant family and medical leave as required by FMLA and CFRA.

Formal Complaint

Advocacy group A Better Chance filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Walmart accusing the nationwide retailer of various violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), FMLA in addition to local laws regarding its tracking system for workers’ attendance. According to the allegations, Walmart assigned a point system to infractions a worker may commit, from abusive language to poor attendance to tardiness to insubordination, and once a worker has accumulated a certain number of points, he or she is terminated.

A Better Balance alleges that Walmart asserted infractions even to an individual who suffered an on-the-job heart attack, refused to allow an employee to take time off to care for a terminally-ill parent, and also pressured workers to come in for assigned shifts despite being sick.

Employment Law Attorneys

If your California company is a covered employer under FMLA and CFRA, the business must have a family and medical leave policy that should include certain specifications. California businesses should know that violating family and/medical leave laws leave the enterprise subject to a civil lawsuit or a civil proceeding, and supervisors may be held personally liable. If you are an employer and have any questions regarding family or medical leave or any other employment law related issue, contacted the knowledgeable attorneys at Garcia & Gurney, ALC. Providing legal services relating to complex employment law matters to clients in the Bay Area and beyond, our attorneys can guide you every step of the way. Call (925) 468-0400 today to schedule a consultation.

The information contained in this article is provided by Garcia & Gurney, ALC (“G&G”) and is provided for educational and informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or an offer to perform services on any subject matter. Recipients of this article should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in this article without seeking appropriate legal advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient’s state. G&G expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken by the recipient based on any or all of the information or other contents in this article. This article not intended to constitute an advertisement for professional services or any other services. Nothing herein is intended to create an attorney-client relationship and shall not be construed as legal advice.

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