Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles you to take off unpaid days from work:

  • for your own serious health condition that makes you unable to perform your job
  • for you to care for your spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition
  • due to the birth and care of a child

A "serious health condition" may include an illness, injury, or physical or mental impairment. FMLA leave can be taken for a sequential period of time or on an intermittent (i.e., day-by-day, as needed) basis.

Days that you do not work under the protection of the FMLA cannot be counted against you for absenteeism or disciplinary purposes. Also, when you take time off under the protection of the FMLA, your railroad cannot use those days of absence against you when considering transfers or promotions.

Railroads are doing whatever they can to frustrate or deny their employees' right to take Family and Medical Leave Act unpaid leaves of absence. However, you can sue the railroad to enforce your FMLA rights, including the recovery of money damages and lost promotions.

Under the FMLA, a civil complaint can be filed against any railroad that:

  • interferes with, restrains, or denies the exercise of or the attempt to exercise any right under the FMLA
  • discharges, retaliates against, or in any way discriminates against an individual who files a charge, gives information about any charge or proceeding, or who testifies in any inquiry or proceeding

You can recover damages for any wages, salary, benefits, or other compensation denied or lost by reason of a railroad's violation of your FMLA rights, plus liquidated damages and attorneys' fees. The court also has the power to award you appropriate equitable relief by forcing the railroad to hire you, reinstate you, or promote you.

A FMLA complaint must be filed within two years from the date of the last event constituting a violation. Do not delay. Contact us to assist you in enforcing all your FMLA rights.

Avoid delays & denials

Under the FMLA, you have the federal statutory right to take unpaid leaves of absence. But railroads are using a "3D strategy"—delay, deny, discourage—to prevent workers from taking Family Medical Leave. Railroads hope that if they just keep delaying and denying employees' exercise of their FMLA rights, then eventually their workers will get so discouraged they will just give up trying.

Part of railroads' 3D strategy is to bounce back a treating doctor's Certification of Health Care Provider (CHCP) form claiming it is not filled out properly. This leads to unnecessary delays and denials. Do not let this happen to you. Click here for a Treating Doctor Advisory Sheet you can print out and give to your doctor along with the CHCP form ( click here for the CHCP for employees and click here for the CHCP for family members) to help avoid such delays and denials. Click here for a FMLA leave application form. Always keep copies of the application form and the doctor's CHCP form.

If your railroad is unfairly delaying or denying your FMLA application, call us!

Call 800-654-RAIL or contact us to assist you in enforcing all your FMLA rights.

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Family Medical Leave Act
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