Disability Leaves

Leave Law Litigation

Leave law cases involve, among other things, claims of failure to accommodate; failure to reinstate; failure to engage in the interactive process, wrongful termination; and discontinuance of medical benefits.

The primary state laws that protect employees from leave law violations in California are the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and the California Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL), both of which are part of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), codified in the California Government Code starting with Section 12940.

If you are an employee, and you can demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence (the legal standard in civil cases) that your employer has committed any of the violations listed above with regards to leave laws, and that you suffered damages as a result of such violation, you likely have a claim for leave law violation under the relevant either the CFRA or PDL and the relevant FEHA statutes.

The primary federal law that protects employees from leave law violations in California is the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (as amended) (FMLA), codified in Chapter 29 of the United States Constitution starting with Section 2601.  The FMLA and CFRA are very similar; however, there are some material differences.

For one, although both the FMLA and the CFRA include same-sex spouses in the definition of a family member, only the CFRA allows for leave for a registered domestic partner.  Also, while a disabling condition related to pregnancy is considered a serious medical condition under the FMLA, pregnancy is not covered or considered a serious health condition under the CFRA.  CFRA leave can be used by an employee only following the birth of a child for bonding.  In circumstances where a leave qualifies for both the FMLA and CFRA leave, the leaves will run concurrently.

Here the California Department of Human Resources provides a helpful chart on the differences between the FMLA and the CFRA leaves, and here the California Employers Association provides a helpful fact sheet laying out the differences between the FMLA, CFRA, and PCL leaves.

There are also paid sick leave laws that were recently enacted in California.  Employers are generally obligated to allow their employees to accrue and take paid sick leave and not to be retaliated against or terminated for taking that leave.  Our employment lawyers handle cases involved paid sick leave and can help you if your employer has violated the law.