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Does An Employer Have to Accommodate an Employee’s FMLA Requirements?

By September 25, 2014 Employment Law No Comments

While employees have certain rights in the workplace, thanks to the Labor movement, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), and even the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), not all of these acts work in the same way.

For example, employees are not granted the same strict protection under FMLA as the Reasonable Accommodation guidelines under the ADA.

Baby StrollersAs we discussed last week, Reasonable Accommodations are only applicable to an employee with a disability. That person can make a request to accommodate their needs such as a chair to sit on while working, or scheduled breaks to take medication. According to the ADA, the employer is required to meet all reasonable requests without retribution against the employee.

However, the FMLA has no such requirements. An employee can take leave under FMLA when an employee’s family member (spouse, child, or parent) needs special attention because of a health or disability reason. FMLA allows (or requires) an employer to give unpaid leave to an employee to care for other people’s issues.

There are other stipulations about FMLA that must be met before the employee is given that leave:

  1. The employer must have 50 or more employees.
  2. The employee must work at the company for 12 months.
  3. In those 12 months, the employee must work 1,250 hours (an average of 24 hours per week).
  4. If these stipulations are met, the employee is allowed up to 12 weeks unpaid medical leave to care for himself or herself, or a family member with a serious health condition.

If these conditions are not met, an employee cannot obtain leave through FMLA and an employer is not obligated to give it. It’s always worth asking your employer, but if you can’t meet the above criteria, then you may need to make other arrangements for you or your family member.

If you have other questions about FMLA, the ADA, or any other workplace concerns, you can contact the Cassis Law Office at (502) 736-8100.

Photo credit: Dena (Flickr, Creative Commons)