Employers have increasingly targeted workers who take time off to care for sick family members or children. This has resulted in a continuous stream of successful employee lawsuits over family leave. For example, a California woman recently filed a lawsuit against Autozone for demoting and firing her after learning she was pregnant. She was awarded $186 million in punitive damages.
Many other workers have been mistreated by employers for taking time off to care for disabled or elderly family members. As a result, lawsuits filed by caregivers of elderly parents have exploded during the last ten years. According to a study released by the Center for WorkLife Law, lawsuits filed by these caregivers have increased by 650 percent in the last decade! What could be behind such a large increase in a short period of time?
A recent article published by CBS argues the number of similar lawsuits will grow because employers are unaware of new (or sometimes even existing) protections afforded to workers. For example, the article describes how the Affordable Care Act of 2010 provided new protections for mothers who are breastfeeding at work.
In addition, Baby Boomers are an increasingly large and aging population that require caregiving from their children. Employers who deny employees the right to take care of their aging parents could also be targeted by litigation.
California Family Leave and Workplace Protections
Depending on the circumstances, California workers have protections under the Family Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act. Employees who are eligible for family medical leave can take up to 12 weeks per year to care for family members or children.
If you have been unfairly targeted by your employer for taking family leave, you should consider discussing available legal options with an attorney.
The Los Angeles labor law attorneys at Kesluk, Silverstein, Jacob & Morrison, P.C. will help defend workers against FMLA violations.