Articles Posted in Family and Medical Leave

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As the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office clearly stated in a recent press release, “No parent should be forced to choose between their job and caring for or breastfeeding their child… New Jersey law protects a parent’s right to take leave to care for a newborn child and to return to the same position after leave. It also protects a parent’s right to breastfeed a child.” As an expectant parent, you know that those first weeks and months are something that you can never experience again with that child, and that the bonding that takes place during those early months is vitally important to your child. When you suffer workplace harm because you took leave following your delivery, or because you’re breastfeeding your baby, that’s against the law. Take action by contacting an experienced New Jersey employment attorney right away.

One way you can help yourself when you are expecting a child is by knowing your rights. A recent case that was reported by the Hudson Reporter is a good illustration of how helpful knowing your rights when it comes to family leave can be.

Here in New Jersey, you are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period (if you’ve worked at least 1,250 hours during the last 12 months) under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) gives you up to 12 weeks of leave in a 24-month period if you’ve worked at least 1,000 hours in the previous 12 months.

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When it comes to winning a disability discrimination case, timing can often be an extremely important piece of the puzzle. For example, if you have proof that your employer took an adverse action against you very shortly after you requested a reasonable accommodation for your disability, that bit of “timing” evidence can be a major positive for your case. On the other hand, if your employer has proof that it contemplated firing you before it ever became aware of your disability, that evidence potentially can weaken your case. Note that it just weakens your case… it doesn’t necessarily destroy your case. Timing is just one piece of the puzzle among many and, like any other negative fact, it can be overcome. Your skilled New Jersey disability discrimination attorney can help you map out a possible pathway to success, even when some of the pieces of your case (like timing) seem to work against you.

As an example of what we mean, there’s the case of F.C., who worked for a healthcare company. In 2015, the employer began considering replacing F.C. A few months later, the employee developed health problems that eventually required heart surgery to address.

Three weeks after F.C. returned from his post-surgery leave, the employer fired him. The employee sued in federal court, alleging that the termination violated the ADA and the FMLA. The employer had some proof on its side. For one thing, the evidence showed that the employer first began considering firing F.C. before it even knew F.C. had a disability or would need a medical leave of absence from work. That seemed to point toward the firing as being legitimate and non-discriminatory.

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When New Jersey first enacted its paid family leave program in 2009, it was the second state in the country to do so, following only California. As the program approached a decade in existence, problems remained. Some lawmakers believed that too many families were still unable to take needed family leave because they could not afford it, meaning that the program was failing to address the problem it was designed to alleviate.

To address that issue, New Jersey’s lawmakers have again taken action. reported that, back in mid-February, Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law an important new bill regarding paid family leave in New Jersey. The new legislation now makes the state’s paid leave law one of the most generous in the country. The new law will be a very helpful one for many workers, allowing them to avoid a terrible situation in which they must choose between keeping their jobs and making ends meet or spending time caring for a new baby or ailing loved one. As always, if you are unsure about your rights or entitlement to benefits under New Jersey law, or believe that your employer has violated the law, reach out right away to retain the services of a knowledgeable New Jersey employment attorney.

The expansion created by the new law helps in two vital ways, as it extends the amount of time during which workers can be on paid leave and also increases the portion of their regular income that they receive. Under the new law, eligible caregivers or new parents may receive as much as 12 weeks of family leave benefits, an increase from six weeks under the old law. The old law said that an employee on family leave would receive 2/3 of his/her regular income; under the new law, it’s 80%. The original program capped the maximum weekly benefit at $650; under the expanded program, that figure will rise to $860, according to the report.

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Many employment cases may involve multiple different types of harm that are suffered as a result of different transgressions committed against you. Your employer, for example, may have violated the Family and Medical Leave Act or anti-discrimination laws around the same time that you suffered an injury potentially covered by workers’ compensation. Whenever your case involves multiple claims, it could make sense to settle some and pursue others. If you do, it is vital to understand fully exactly what you are releasing (in other words, giving up) as part of any settlement agreement you sign. An experienced New Jersey employment attorney can help you understand your rights and your options when this type of scenario arises.

One example in which this did happen was the case of Craig. Craig was like thousands of people across the country who have gotten hurt while on the job. He returned to work for a few days after the injury but eventually needed an extra week off to heal. After that week off, the injured market worker returned to work. Just two weeks after he returned to work, the market fired the man.

Craig eventually brought a lawsuit that accused the employer of violating the FMLA. The FMLA gives employees who need to take leave from work certain rights. Among the obligations that the FMLA imposes on employers is to notify an employee who takes leave of his rights under the FMLA statute. The man’s lawsuit contended that the market never informed him of his rights. The employer also allegedly broke the law “by not designating his leave as FMLA protected.”

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