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What Remedies Do You Have if Your FMLA Rights Are Violated?

What Remedies Do You Have if Your FMLA Rights Are Violated?

The federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives many employees the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to take care of their own serious medical conditions or those of family members. However, employers sometimes fail to comply with the FMLA by disallowing leave, by cutting the pay of employees who take FMLA leave or by refusing to let leave-takers come back to their original jobs.

Only eligible employees are entitled to take FMLA leave. As the Department of Labor explains, an eligible employee is one who:

  • Works for a covered employer, which means a private company with 50 or more employees or a public agency or public or private elementary or secondary school, regardless of the number of employees
  • Has been employed by the organization for at least 12 months
  • Worked at least 1,250 hours for the employer in the 12 months prior to taking leave
  • Works in a location where their employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles

If your FMLA rights are violated, you can file a lawsuit against your employer. The court can order your employer to allow you to take FMLA leave that has been disallowed. If you were removed from your position in consequence of taking leave, the court can order your employer to reinstate you to the job you held before or a job that has equivalent pay, benefits, duties and authority.

Additionally, if you win your FMLA case, a judge or jury can award one or more of the following monetary remedies:

  • Back pay — This consists of the wages, salary and benefits you lost between the date you lost your position after using FMLA leave and the date you win the case.
  • Front pay — This means wages, salary and benefits you will lose from the date of the judgment in your lawsuit up to some point in the future. For example, if you likely won’t be able to find another job for a year, you could receive front pay for that year.
  • Liquidated damages — You can be awarded additional compensation, equal to the amount you win in back pay and front pay combined, if the employer fails to prove it made an honest mistake in denying your leave request.
  • Out-of-pocket costs — You can be reimbursed for costs you incurred due to your employer’s violation of the FMLA. For example, if your spouse had surgery and you were denied FMLA leave to care for him or her, you can be reimbursed for the expense of hiring a caregiver.
  • Attorney’s fees and court costs — Your employer can be ordered to pay your attorneys’ fees and court costs, which could amount to several thousand dollars.

Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in Hackensack has successfully represented employees in FMLA cases in New Jersey and New York over several decades. You can call us at 551-245-8894 or contact us online to schedule a meeting at your convenience.

Neil  H.  Deutsch Attorney Photo
Neil H. Deutsch

Neil H. Deutsch has been practicing law for over 35 years and is known as a skilled negotiator in employment and discrimination law. He believes in a bottom-line approach of risk analysis and cost effectiveness for his clients. "Case evaluation is something we take seriously," says Mr. Deutsch who seeks top net dollar for his…

Bruce  L.  Atkins Attorney Photo
Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

Bruce L. Atkins is the Senior Managing Partner at Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt P.C., a prominent plaintiff employment law firm in the tri-state area. Mr. Atkins believes employees’ rights should be aggressively pursued when they’ve been wrongfully dealt with by their employers. He brings this philosophy to his practice when considering each case and its…

Adam  J.  Kleinfeldt Attorney Photo
Adam J. Kleinfeldt

Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigation such as discrimination, retaliation and whistle blowing matters. He has extensive experience in all phases of the litigation process. Adam has obtained significant results for his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict in a sexual…

Debra M. McGarvey Attorney Photo
Debra M. McGarvey

Debra M. McGarvey joined Deutsch Atkins & Kleinfeldt, P.C. in December 2019. She has extensive experience defending employees and employers in state and federal court in employment litigation matters. She has represented clients on various issues arising out of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), the…

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Carly Skarbnik Meredith

Carly Skarbnik Meredith, Esq. is a Partner at the firm. Carly has focused her career exclusively in the field of employment law. She has a plethora of experience representing both employees and employers with their employment issues, needs, and concerns. She believes representing both employees and employers has made her an extremely well-rounded client advocate.…


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