Family Leaves of Absence (FMLA)

 Tower Legal Group, P.C. provides skilled legal representation for employees who have experienced violations of their protected leave rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), California Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL), California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and other federal and California laws.  If you would like to speak with a protected leave violations attorney, contact us online or at 916-233-2008 to schedule a Free Consultation.

Medical and Family Leave is protected in California.  The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was signed into law in 1993.  It provides employees who worked at the company for more than a year the rights to take unpaid leave for (1) the birth or adoption of a child or (2) when the employee, a spouse or close family relative suffers from a serious health condition.

The California Family Right Act (CFRA), which is similar to FMLA, provides for 12 weeks of medical leave for an employee or close family member of an employee.  However, CFRA is more expansive, as it also provides for Baby Bonding time following pregnancy or adoption, for both the mother and father.

The protected leave can be up to 12 weeks per year, and used intermittently.  Employers may not refuse to hire or to discharge, fine, suspend, expel, retaliate or discriminate against any employee because of he or she exercised their right to family care and medical leave.

In addition, California offers pregnant mothers the California Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL).  This permits the pregnant mother to take 4 months of medical leave due to the pregnancy or pregnancy related medical conditions, such as: prenatal or postnatal care; bed rest; gestational diabetes; pregnancy-induced hypertension; preeclampsia; post-partum depression; childbirth; loss or end of pregnancy.  The preceding list of conditions is intended to be non-exclusive and illustrative only.  Nothing excludes a transgender individual who is disabled by pregnancy.

These “protected leave” statutes ensure that employees can take maternity leave or paternity leave, leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition, or leave to recover from an illness or injury without having to worry that they are putting their job at risk.

Unfortunately, many employers violate these protected leave laws.  From denying protected leave requests to refusing to reinstate employees who take leave, employers in California regularly infringe upon their employees’ statutory rights.

Lastly, once all “protected leave” has been exhausted or maxed out, employees still may be entitled to medical leave under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).  FEHA places obligations on employers and employees once protected leave has expired.  Once the protected leave expires (FMLA, CFRA, PDL, etc), the employer and employee must engage in an interactive process to determine if a reasonable accommodation would be extending the leave to assist the employee to return to work.  Therefore, once the protected leave expires, employees may still be entitled to additional leave of absence.


Under the FEHA, ‘reasonable accommodation’ means a modification or adjustment to the workplace that enables the employee to perform the essential functions of the job held or desired.  Reasonable accommodations can permit the employee to continue working and performing the Essential Functions, instead of requiring a medical leave of absence.  Reasonable Accommodations can also be temporary light duty assignments, or granting medical leave of absence, to allow the employee to recover sufficiently to return to work.

If you believe that your protected leave rights have been violated, we can help you.  Please call 916-233-2008 or contact us online to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an FMLA, CFRA and PDL medical leave attorney experienced in California Employment Law.