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Leaves of Absence Law: FMLA

October 30, 2015 - According to the Family & Medical Leave Act, commonly referred to as FMLA, as well as the California Family Rights Act (or CFRA), any employer that provides employment to over fifty individuals within a 75 mile radius is subject to minimum unpaid family leave requirements. Specifically, after 1+ years of employment, employees must be allowed to access up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave if they or their immediate family members experience a serious medical condition.

According to FMLA and CFRA regulations: 

  • California employees DO NOT need to specify to their employer that they need FMLA or CFRA family leave.
  • California employees DO need to notify their employer of a serious health or medical condition that could require inpatient care or multiple doctor’s visits or that could result in the incapacitation of the employee for 3+ days.
  • California employers MAY request additional information.
  • California employers MAY request a doctor’s certificate in support of the condition and indicating the severity of the issue as well as an estimated duration of the condition, treatment and/or recovery. This request must be made in writing.
  • California employers MAY request a second opinion as long as they are willing to cover the costs of obtaining one as well as specify a physician of their choosing.

Conditions that Could Fall Under FMLA and CFRA Mandates:

  • Migraines
  • Asthma
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • And many more chronic conditions…

Such chronic conditions could require that employees take intermittent or sporadic medical absences. If the employee’s doctor provides certification that they need intermittent leave as a result of a chronic condition, FMLA guidelines limit the employer to recertification requests no more frequent than every 30 days.  Recertification may be requested by California employers in order to verify an employee’s need for medical leave according o FMLA or CFRA mandates, but employee privacy is protected by law prohibiting the employer from requesting information regarding diagnosis, treatment or other medical facts pertinent to their employee’s condition.

If you need assistance with legal issues stemming from federal and California state law regarding unpaid family leave, contact the southern California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.


24/7 Employee Tracking: Southern California Employment Law

October 28, 2015 - Many companies have instituted various programs to increase productivity and maximize earning potential. One such “program” is employee tracking. Many question whether or not the ability to track employees is infringing on the legal rights of workers.

For instance, Myrna Arias worked for Intermex, a wire transfer company, for two months. During that time she was asked by her employer to download an employee tracking app on her smartphone that was provided for her by the company. She was advised that the app needed to be on her smartphone and she was not allowed to disable it. She downloaded the app. Shortly thereafter, a supervisor made a joke about her “location” after hours that raised a red flag for Myrna. It became obvious to her that there were major privacy concerns connected to the company’s requirement that she never disable the tracking app on her smartphone. She deleted the app. She was fired soon after its deletion. Myrna Arias is suing Intermex with allegations that she was terminated from her position due to her complaints about the worker tracking app’s intrusion in her after hours personal life.

Do southern California employers have the right to require their employees to submit to 24/7 tracking devices or applications? Should employers have access to employee location and movement when they are off the clock? Should workers be tracked when they are legitimately off the clock, off company grounds and not interacting with clients, etc.?

Most southern California employees and employers alike will agree that while employers have some rights regarding employee movements and productivity during their on the clock hours as well as company owned equipment and devices. But those same employees and employers also agree that offering an employee a job does not give them a right to track employee location and movement and activity at ALL times. If you feel that 24/7 tracking of workers is invasive you may need to contact a southern California employment law attorney to discuss your situation on the job.

If you have questions regarding your employer’s right to track your movement on or off the clock, get in touch with the southern California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.