There are federal and New Jersey laws that protect employees from being harassed for taking medical leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) protect employees who take protected leaves of absence. If an employer retaliates against employees for taking protected leave by harassing employees, the employer violates the law and is subject to damages.
Some employers resent employees take advantage of their rights under these laws. When an employee takes a medical leave under FMLA for a serious health condition or to care for a sick loved one under the New Jersey Family Leave Act, an employer may retaliate. In such instances, an employer may look to terminate the absent employee during or after the medical leave out of retaliation for having exercised rights under these laws. Under the FMLA or the New Jersey Family Leave Act, it is against the law for an employer to retaliate for taking such medical leaves.
To prove a case of retaliation under FMLA or NJFLA, an employee must prove that he or she was entitled to take leave under the statute. This includes determining whether the employer had the correct number of employees (50+) and that the employee worked the required number of hours over an entire year. The employee must also show that he or she or a family member had a serious medical condition.
The employee must then prove that he or she was retaliated against for making the complaint. There must be an adverse employment action. To prove that there is a hostile work environment based on medical leave retaliation, an employee must show that the conduct was severe or pervasive. Medical leave retaliation based on severity must involve outrageous harassment. Medical leave retaliation based on pervasive conduct involves repeated instances of harassment over time.
Ron Wronko is one of the most experienced and proven NJ FMLA lawyers. He obtained a $150,000 settlement following a two (2) week trial in Elizabeth, Union County, New Jersey Superior Court in Tafur v. Plainfield Board of Education. In that case, Ms. Tafur alleged, in part, that she had been retaliated against for taking multiple leaves under the FMLA. If you would like an initial telephone consultation on a retaliation claim under the FMLA and New Jersey Family Leave Act, please contact us using the form on this page or call us at (973) 360-1001.