» Workers’ Comp and FMLA Issues 101 for Employers & Employees

Workers’ Comp and FMLA Issues 101 for Employers & Employees

If an employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, an employee has a right to seek workers’ compensation benefits for medical bills, lost earnings, and vocational rehabilitation as needed. When a worker files a claim in good faith, that worker is protected by state laws while he or she recovers. Employees should promptly make their supervisor, human resources, and other appropriate employment contacts aware of any work-related injury issue. Promptly filing a claim will ensure it is disclosed within the proper time constraints. Individuals should almost always consult a company manual to see if it outlines the procedure to report a workplace injury.

Employers cannot retaliate, fire, or harass a worker for filing a workers’ comp claim. Employees who assist a colleague are also protected. Wrongful termination, harassment, and other forms of workplace aggression against an employee who files a worker’s compensation claim are not tolerated by the courts.

Of equal importance is the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). Businesses generally must allow workers to take up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave when they or a family member is dealing with a serious medical condition. Workers are allowed this type of leave leading up to and after a pregnancy, and for child adoption, surgery and when care is needed by an immediate family member. Businesses of more than 50 workers are typically required to follow this guideline.

The FMLA generally entitles a worker to return to their previous or equivalent position with equal pay, benefits, terms, and status. Employers cannot retaliate against workers for going on or returning from FMLA leave. Discrimination, termination, and other forms of retaliation are strictly against FMLA laws. Some employers may not be as well versed on FMLA leave, so if there is any question or concern with an FMLA situation, employers are strongly advised to consult legal counsel on how to institute a fair FMLA policy to ensure compliance with appropriate laws.

Employees and employers should have a knowledgeable Austin employment lawyer on their side when faced with worker’s compensation or FMLA issues. To learn more, contact Austin employment attorney Gregory D. Jordan at (512) 419-0684.

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