Can My Employer Deny My CFRA Leave?

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Posted by Legal Team On May 27, 2023

State and federal programs permit employees to take a leave from work to focus on their families in emergency situations without their job being in jeopardy. Facing employment penalties while trying to take care of family situations is unfair, and the government has taken measures to protect employees. California Family Rights Act (CFRA) Leave allows employees the time they need without fear of retribution.

California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

Because of the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), employees are permitted to take necessary leave for family issues or for medical causes. Employers should have a working knowledge of their employee’s rights as outlined in the CFRA. Denying an application is illegal and can pose problems for the employee and the employer.

CFRA Coverage

In various situations, the CFRA protects employees. These scenarios allow employees to qualify for time away from the job. Some situations that are covered by the CFRA are as follows:

  • A significant medical situation that requires the employee to care for their family member
  • Childbirth
  • Adopting a child or hosting a foster son or daughter
  • Recovering from a medical issue

When taking CFRA leave, employees still qualify for their employment benefits. Employees on CFRA leave should still receive the following:

  • Health and dental insurance benefits
  • Retirement benefits
  • Pension
  • They should not lose any of the seniority status they have earned.
  • Job protection so that they do not lose their job due to their leave of absence
  • Protected CFRA leave for 12 weeks per year.

Employees given CFRA leave should return to their job in the same position with the same seniority as when they stepped away. Employers must not penalize their employees for using this protected leave.

When Can CFRA Be Lawfully Denied?

To be eligible for CFRA leave, employees have to meet particular qualifications. The specifics are listed below:

  • The employee requesting CFRA leave must have worked for the employer for a minimum of a year before being eligible.
  • Not only must they have been employed for one year, they must have clocked in at least 1,250 hours during this time to qualify for CFRA leave.

Under these requirements, if an employee is eligible for leave, the employer can still deny CFRA leave under specific conditions. These conditions are outlined below:

  • Employers with less than 50 employees at a California worksite.
  • At least 50 people employed by the company must work within a 75-mile distance from the worksite.
  • To qualify for CFRA leave, the employee requesting leave must work within 75 miles of the worksite.

Suppose an architectural firm employs 60 employees, but 17 of them work remotely in a city 100 miles away. This would mean that the employee applying for CFRA leave may not be eligible. It would be advisable that they seek other alternatives.

Employees seeking CFRA leave, when eligible, are expected to provide advance notice of at least a month’s time to qualify.

CFRA Denials

If both the employee and the employer meet the outlined criteria, then CFRA leave cannot be denied. State law requires that all qualifying businesses follow the regulations outlined by the program.

Employees may take action if they are illegally denied CFRA leave. They must do so within one year of their formal request by submitting a formal complaint. This complaint must be submitted to the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment.

The government may then pursue action against the business for a wrongfully denied CFRA leave claim. The employee may also take legal action so that they may receive compensation for the damages sustained due to the CFRA leave being denied.

Recovering Compensation Due to a CFRA Leave Denial

When an employee is denied CFRA leave and feels that it has been unlawfully done, that employee is eligible to seek compensation for the damages sustained. The employee may be qualified to receive the following:

  • Job reinstatement
  • Recovery of lost income
  • Interest in that income
  • Money or expenses incurred due to the denial of CFRA leave
  • Monetary compensation for emotional anguish
  • Legal costs and attorney fees

Businesses can incur substantial financial hits if they unlawfully deny CFRA leave to an employee.

Contact Us Today

If you have questions about CFRA leave, The Armstrong Law Firm is the place to go for answers. Reach out today for a free consultation.