Informed Employers Can Help Avoid FMLA/CFRA Lawsuits
California-based employers who employ 50 or more workers face regulations beyond the federal employment laws through the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), which expands employees’ rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
FMLA and CFRAThe most common, Walmart, with stores in every state in the nation, is allegedly having issues adhering to the federal law and likely the California standard regarding its California locations.
Typically FMLA provides workers who qualify 12 weeks of unpaid medical and family leave with 26 weeks available to care for ill or injured service personnel. Unlike the FLMA, under the CFRA workers are also granted 12 weeks of medical and family leave but with remuneration to a certain percentage of an employee's wage. This time off can be for an extended illness, to take care of a sick family member, or bond with a newborn or newly adopted child, among other scenarios. Workers have the right to take the leave all at once or intermittently, with few restrictions. Both the FMLA and CFRA prohibit retaliation or discrimination against a worker for exercising these rights or for giving information or testimony about alleged violations of the state or federal law.
The most common employer mistake is failing to grant family and medical leave as required by FMLA and CFRA.
Formal ComplaintAdvocacy group A Better Chance filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Walmart accusing the nationwide retailer of various violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), FMLA in addition to local laws regarding its tracking system for workers' attendance. According to the allegations, Walmart assigned a point system to infractions a worker may commit, from abusive language to poor attendance to tardiness to insubordination, and once a worker has accumulated a certain number of points, he or she is terminated.
A Better Balance alleges that Walmart asserted infractions even to an individual who suffered an on-the-job heart attack, refused to allow an employee to take time off to care for a terminally-ill parent, and also pressured workers to come in for assigned shifts despite being sick.