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Employees: know and protect your leave rights under federal, state law, P.2

In our last post, we began looking at some of the basic protections available to workers in terms of family and medical leave at both the state and the federal level. As we noted, the state of New York is progressive in this area, guaranteeing up to 12 weeks of paid family leave for most employees. Additional protections may apply at the local level.

When an employer fails to fulfill its duties under federal, state or local law, it is important for employees to work with experienced legal counsel who can work to protect their rights. At the federal level, family and medical leave protections are enforced by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. 

Federal law allows employees whose leave rights have been violated to file a complaint with the Department of Labor. The agency investigates these complaints and attempts to resolve the matter with the employer, if possible. If the case can’t be resolved, the agency may take the employer to court to compel compliance. Employees are also allowed to bring their own private civil actions against employers for violations of federal law, and there is no requirement that a complaint be filed with the agency. State and local leave laws have their own designated avenues for enforcement.  

Whether an employee chooses to pursue a private civil action or to work through another channel in enforcing leave rights, have the guidance and advocacy of an experienced attorney helps ensure the employee’s rights are protected throughout the process. 

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