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The Family Medical Leave Act and Protection for Individuals

This article answers questions about the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). It is adapted from content written by the United States Department of Labor, in its Fact Sheet #77B: Protection for Individuals under the FMLA.

Can my employer stop me from exercising FMLA rights?

Section 105 of the FMLA and section 825.220 of the FMLA regulations prohibit employers from the following actions:

  • interfering with, restraining, or denying the exercise of, or the attempt to exercise, any FMLA right.
  • discriminating or retaliating against an employee or prospective employee for having exercised or attempted to exercise any FMLA right.
  • discharging or in any other way discriminating against any person, whether or not an employee, for opposing or complaining about any unlawful practice under the FMLA.​

Any violations of the FMLA or the Department’s regulations constitute interfering with, restraining, or denying the exercise of rights provided by the FMLA.

Read more on Fact Sheet #77B: Protection for Individuals under the FMLA at dol.gov.

Does the FMLA apply to my employer?

FMLA applies to all public agencies, including state, local and federal employers, local education agencies (schools), and private-sector employers who employed 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year, including joint employers and successors of covered employers.

To learn more, see Protection for Individuals Under the FMLA at dol.gov.

What conduct is prohibited under the FMLA?

Examples of prohibited conduct include:

  • Refusing to authorize FMLA leave for an eligible employee,
  • Discouraging an employee from using FMLA leave,
  • Manipulating an employee’s work hours to avoid responsibilities under the FMLA,
  • Using an employee’s request for or use of FMLA leave as a negative factor in employment actions, such as hiring, promotions, or disciplinary actions, or,
  • Counting FMLA leave under “no fault” attendance policies.

Read more on Fact Sheet #77B: Protection for Individuals under the FMLA at dol.gov.