Family Medical Leave – Settlement

In February 2017, we achieved a $175,000.00 settlement for our client, a Finance Manager at an Automobile Dealership who was wrongfully terminated in violation of the California Family Rights Act and California’s Fair Employment & Housing Act.

In July 2016, our client exercised her right to take a Family Medical Leave due to her own serious medical condition.  In August 2016, the employer refused to return our client to her position upon her return from Family Medical Leave.  At that time, the employer asserted in writing that it had no obligation to our client because our client was a “key employee” of the dealership.  In that regard, the employer determined that our client was ineligible for Family Medical Leave due to the fact that she was in the top 10% of wage earners in the company, and thus, exempt from the California’s Family Rights Act.

While our client was in the top 10% of earners in the company, she earned all of her wages on a commission basis.  In order for the Family Medical Leave key employee exemption to apply, California law requires that a key employee be paid on a salary basis.  Since our client earned 100% of her wages on commission, the exemption did not apply and the case was settled very quickly by February 2017.

It is important for California employees to know and understand their rights when requesting Family Medical Leave for either their own serious medical condition or the serious medical condition of a close family member.  Some employers believe their obligations to the employee ends after the employee exhausts their 12 weeks of unpaid Family Medical Leave in a calendar year.  That is simply not the case.  Even after an employee exhausts their rights to Family Medical Leave, the employer has additional legal duties to accommodate the employee.  The employer may even be required to provide the employee with additional reasonable unpaid medical leave under the California’s anti-discrimination law (Fair Employment & Housing Act).

Should you have any questions regarding your right(s) with regard to Family Medical Leave or your right(s) regarding reasonable accommodations, our consultation is free and we can help.  You may call us at (800) 507-9470 and speak directly with one of our partners.



About the Author