New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) Retaliation
The New Jersey Family Leave Act is one of those rare state statutes that is not quite as effective as its federal counterpart, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (or FMLA). The FMLA is a bit better than the New Jersey Leave Law because it provides protection for one’s own serious health condition, where the New Jersey FLA does not provide that protection.
On the other hand, the New Jersey FLA requires slightly fewer hours on the job before protection is afforded. The FMLA requires 1250 hours accumulated over one year, while the New Jersey FLA requires only 1000. The FLA requires that an employer be engaged in commerce and have at least 50 employees either at the work location or within a particular geographic range within the state. The employee in question must have been on the job for at least a year and must have that requisite 1000 hours of accumulated time.
Once there is a covered employment relationship, the employer must guarantee job protection for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to deal with the birth or adoption of a child, to care for a sick relative, or deal with the death of a relative. Of course, while an employer is allowed to ask for some medical documentation and other information to support the leave, they are not allowed to harass or intimidate you while you are on leave, ask for unfair or unnecessary or duplicative information, or probe too deeply into the health records or affairs of your relative. They are also not allowed to retaliate against you either while you are on leave or when you return, either by way of workplace harassment or by way of workplace discrimination because you asserted your rights under the FLA.
If they expose you to a hostile, intimidating or abusive working environment either while on leave or after you return because you exercised your right to the FLA, or if they demote, fire, refuse to promote, wrongfully discharge or fire you because you asserted your rights under the FLA, you have the right to obtain all the same remedies that would be available to you under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.
The New Jersey employment rights attorneys at Costello & Mains, LLC, have been engaged in the protection of these rights for more than 50 combined years. We know how to obtain the compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, equitable back pay, equitable front pay and reinstatement rights that have been damages by a refusal to grant leave under the New Jersey FLA or because an employer has retaliated against a worker who has asserted his or her rights under the NJFLA.