Employment Lawyers Fighting for Workers’ Rights in New Jersey, Pennsylvania & Throughout the United States

Employee Rights FAQ

Taking FMLA Leave To Treat Depression: What You Need To Know

Rates of depression have increased since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Even before COVID-19, however, mental health issues were an increasing concern in the workplace. Employees may struggle when they need to treat depression. Some people might hesitate before they seek the help that they need. They might also be worried about logistical scheduling issues or may have employers that might not be understanding of the difficulties that the employees are facing. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler understand the impacts that depression can have on workers. We can help you to understand your rights to take leave to get the treatment that you need under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

What is the Family and Medical Leave Act?

The Family and Medical Leave Act or FMLA is a federal law that was enacted in 1993. This law allows eligible workers who work for covered employers to take up to 12 weeks off from work each year. Leave under the act is unpaid and can only be used for qualifying family or medical reasons, including the following:

  • To care for the serious health condition of the employee
  • To care for an immediate family member’s health condition
  • To bond with a newly born, adopted, or foster care child
  • An emergency related to the worker’s child, spouse, or parent who is on active duty in the military

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New Jersey Family Leave Act Eligibility Requirements

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act protects eligible employees who work for employers that are covered under the act. In addition, some states, including New Jersey, have their own similar leave laws. The NJ Family Leave Act offers added protections to workers in the state. Eligibility for leave under both the federal and state Family Leave Act are determined at the time that the leave is to start. In general, employees who work for covered employers might be eligible to take leave under the NJ Family Leave Act if he or she has been employed for at least 12 months by his or her employer. He or she must also have worked a minimum of 1,000 hours for the employer during that 12-month period for eligibility purposes.

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Anxiety Disorder and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

People who are diagnosed with anxiety disorders may undergo significant stress and other symptoms at certain times. If you are working, your anxiety disorder might interfere with your job until you can get help to effectively manage your symptoms. Fortunately, you might be eligible to take leave from your job under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. The intensity of your symptoms might impact your ability to perform your normal work duties. If you experience intense symptoms of anxiety, taking a temporary leave of absence from your job might be important. The employment lawyers at Swartz Swidler can help you to understand your rights to take leave from your job under the FMLA.

 

What is the FMLA?

The Family and Medical Leave Act is a federal law that was passed in 1993. This law offers benefits to workers who need to take time off from work for their serious medical conditions or to care for the serious health conditions of their family members. Under this law, covered employers must allow their eligible workers to take up to 12 weeks off from work in a year. While the leave is unpaid, the FMLA helps to protect the rights of workers. The FMLA allows eligible employees to take unpaid leave for the following reasons:

 

  • The birth of a new child
  • Caring for a newborn infant
  • Bonding with a newly placed foster or adopted child
  • Caring for an immediate family member’s serious health condition
  • Caring for the employee’s serious medical condition

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What Is The Difference Between FMLA And NJFLA?

New Jersey employees are able to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave if they are eligible under both state and federal law. The federal Family Medical Leave Act and the New Jersey Family Leave Act are similar, but it is important that you understand how these laws differ. The employment lawyers at Swartz Swidler are able to help you to understand your rights under these laws.
FMLA leave

The federal FMLA covers private employers that have 50 or more employees who have worked 20 or more weeks during the current or prior calendar year. It also covers all employers that are in the public sector. Employees who are eligible to take FMLA leave are those who have worked for the covered employer for 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous 12 months. They must also work for a covered employer. Leave is warranted in the following situations:

  • To care for your own serious medical condition
  • To care for your immediate family member’s serious medical condition
  • The birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child
  • Exigency due to a family member’s active duty status in the military

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Are part-time employees eligible for FMLA leave?

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act lets employees who work for employers that are covered under the law and who are eligible to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave off each year to care for their own medical conditions or to care for the serious medical conditions of their dependents. For example, if you are eligible, you can take unpaid leave to have a baby, to adopt a child, to receive a foster care placement, or to take care of your own health condition or the condition of a seriously ill loved one. If you have an injured service member who is your close family member, you are allowed to take up to 26 weeks of leave off from your job to care for him or her. Employers must maintain your group health coverage while you are on leave, but they are not required to pay you. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler can help you to understand the federal and state family leave laws so that you understand your rights. You might wonder whether you are eligible to take leave if you are a part-time employee. Here is what you need to know.

 

FMLA leave for part-time workers

If you have worked enough hours and work for a covered employer, it is possible for you to take FMLA leave. Your eligibility will depend on whether your employer is covered by the law, the length of time that you have worked for your employer, and the number of hours that you have worked during the 12 months preceding the date that you want to take leave.

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Signs Your Employer Is Violating Your FMLA Rights

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, eligible employees can take 12 weeks of unpaid time off from work to handle their serious medical problems or to care for the conditions of their family members. If you take approved FMLA leave, you should be allowed to return to your job without consequences. While FMLA leave is supposed to be a type of job-protected leave, some employers fail to honor the obligations that they owe to their employees under the law. Employers sometimes retaliate against workers for taking FMLA leave. Unfortunately, retaliation is common. Employers might make it hard for workers to take FMLA leave or to return to their jobs after they have done so. If your employer has engaged in retaliation because you took FMLA leave, you may have legal rights to recover damages. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler can review what happened and explain the options that you might have. Here are some signs that your FMLA rights may have been violated by your employer.

 

Employer fails to recognize the request as falling under the FMLA

Workers do not have to refer to their requested leave as FMLA leave. Employers are expected to review requests and understand the types of leave that are being requested under the circumstances. Employers sometimes claim that employees did not request FMLA leave when the employers should have designated it as such.

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Call (856) 685-7420 or

What Are The Overtime Laws In New Jersey?

Your right to receive overtime pay will depend on your job duties and the type of business in which you work. If you believe that you have not received the compensation that you deserve, the attorneys at Swartz Swidler can offer some guidance to you.

Overtime laws in New Jersey

In New Jersey, the state’s overtime law can be found at N.J.S.A § 34:11-56a4. The federal law that provides overtime compensation is the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. These laws define which workers are entitled to overtime compensation and how it is calculated.

Calculating overtime

For hourly workers, overtime is calculated at time-and-one-half the regular hourly rate for every hour that is worked beyond 40 hours in a workweek. Overtime for people who receive hourly pay plus commissions or bonuses is calculated a little differently.

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Can My Employer Change My Time Sheet Or Clock-In Time?

Even when an action seems like it is unfair, it may be legal. For example, your employer is allowed to change your time card without your knowledge. If you think that it was unfairly adjusted, you should talk to your boss and review the Fair Labor Standards Act to determine if the changes were a violation of the law. You can also talk to the lawyers at Swartz Swidler for help in determining whether the changes that your employer made were lawful.

The Fair Labor Standards Act

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act was enacted to protect the rights of workers. Under the act, employees must be paid at least the federal minimum wage. Your pay cannot fall below the amount of the minimum wage, and any overtime that is owed to you cannot be reduced.

The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor is tasked with several work issues. One of these is making certain that the work that you perform and the pay that you earn are documented properly. Your employer is required to keep documentation of all of the hours that are worked by each employee. Employers are allowed to use any type of documentation that they want as long as they keep all of the required information, including your name, the hours that you worked, your rate of pay, the time and date when your workweek begins, your pay periods and the total amount of money that you earned during each pay period.

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Can An Employer Switch You From Hourly To Salary?

Most workers are non-exempt and must be paid at least the minimum wage plus overtime compensation for any hours that they work in a workweek over 40. In some cases, employers might try to switch workers from an hourly wage to a salary and claim that they are exempt from overtime pay. When this happens, it is generally in violation of the state and federal wage and hour rules. If your employer has changed your pay from an hourly wage to a salary and is claiming that you are now exempt from the overtime requirements, talk to the attorneys at Swartz Swidler for help.

Non-exempt vs. exempt

Non-exempt workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act must be paid the federal minimum wage. They must also be paid overtime compensation for each hour that they work above 40 in a workweek at a rate of one-and-one-half times their normal hourly rates. Whenever you exceed 40 hours in a week, your employer must pay you the overtime premium in addition to your regular hourly rate for each hour that you worked above 40.

Employees cannot be declared to be exempt from overtime requirements unless they meet specific criteria. They must be paid a minimum required salary of $455 per week and receive the same amount each week regardless of the number of hours that they work. Their job duties must also meet a duty test. Employers are not allowed to claim that an employee is exempt and then dock his or her pay for working less than 40 hours in a week.

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What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit?

While employers are allowed to fire most workers in New Jersey or Pennsylvania at any time and for nearly any reason or no reason at all, there are some exceptions to this rule. Employers cannot terminate workers for discriminatory reasons based on their protected statuses. They also cannot fire workers to retaliate against them for engaging in protected activities or in violation of the terms of employment contracts or collective bargaining agreements. In situations in which an employee believes that his or her termination was wrongful, the employee will have a limited time to file a lawsuit against his or her employer. If the employee waits until this limitations period has expired, he or she will be barred from filing a lawsuit to recover damages. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler can help you to understand whether you have a valid case and the statute of limitations that applies.

Understanding the statute of limitations

Figuring out how much time you have to file a claim against your employer can be complicated. The statute of limitations for wrongful termination will depend on the law under which you are filing your lawsuit and the conduct that you allege occurred. If you plan to sue your employer, you should act quickly to avoid running into problems with the statute of limitations. If the limitations period expires, you will lose your ability to file a lawsuit and to recover damages for your losses. If you are thinking about filing a wrongful termination claim, you should consult with an experienced employment law attorney at Swartz Swidler as soon as possible.

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Can An Employee Be Fired For Insubordination?

Most workers have jobs in which they have vertical relationships with their supervisors or managers. This means that you report to your supervisor, and your supervisor has the authority to make decisions, including whether to terminate your job. If you have been fired for insubordination, you might wonder whether your employer was allowed to take that action under the law. Swartz Swidler can assist you in determining whether or not your employer’s actions were lawful.

 

At-will employment vs. employment contracts

Pennsylvania is an at-will employment state, which means that employers are generally allowed to terminate the jobs of workers for any reason and at any time. You also have the right to quit your job whenever you want. However, there are some limits to your employer’s power to fire you.

If your employer fires you for an unlawful, discriminatory reason because of your membership in a protected group, your employer may have violated federal and state anti-discrimination laws. If your employer simply fired you for insubordination, and the reason was not discriminatory in nature, your termination was likely legal.

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Can You Get A Severance Package And Unemployment?

You may receive a severance package when you leave your job. If you do, it will provide you with a lump sum or a weekly payment that can help you to make ends meet while you are looking for a new job. If you receive a severance package, it may affect when you might be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. To learn more about the effect that your severance package might have on your ability to receive unemployment benefits, you might want to talk to the lawyers at Swartz Swidler.

Types of severance

If you are offered a severance package from your employer, you may receive a lump-sum payment or weekly payments for a set number of weeks. These packages may also include other types of benefits such as ongoing health insurance or job placement help.

 

Unemployment

You are able to apply for unemployment benefits as soon as your employment ends. the office will examine your employment history to decide the amount that you are entitled to receive.

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How to Figure Out Time and a Half

If you are a statutory employee, you might wonder how overtime pay is calculated. Overtime pay is calculated at one-and-one-half times your hourly rate. This means that you must be paid your regular hourly rate along with an overtime premium of one-half of your rate for each hour that you work during a work week above 40 hours. However, if you are an exempt employee, you are not entitled to overtime pay. Swartz Swidler assists employees who have not been paid the overtime premium for their work so that they can recover the money to which they are entitled.

How to calculate your hourly overtime rate

To calculate your hourly overtime rate, you must start with your regular hourly rate of pay. If you are unsure, you can look at your last paystub. You can then take your regular hourly rate and multiply it by 1.5 to figure out how much you should be paid for any overtime work that you have performed.

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Can My Boss Force Me To Work Overtime?

Federal law allows employers to mandate their employees to work overtime. However, the employees who are required to work overtime must be paid the overtime premium for the hours that they work in excess of 40 in a week. While the federal Fair Labor Standards Actsets the regular work week as 40 hours, there is no limit on the maximum number of hours that you can be required by your employer to work in a week as long as you are paid overtime for the excess hours.

Can you be forced to work overtime?

Your employer is allowed to force you to work overtime hours and is allowed to terminate you if you won’t do so. There are no limits on how much overtime that your employer can require as long as your employer complies with the overtime requirements. Your overtime also cannot create a safety hazard to you or to others.

If you have an employment contract that contains a restriction on the amount of overtime, your employer must follow it. If the employer violates this agreement, you may have a right to sue for breach of contract.

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My Paycheck Bounced, What Are My Rights?

Some employers habitually write bad checks to pay their workers. The workers may then be forced to go to check-cashing places. When this occurs on a regular basis, it is not uncommon for workers to accumulate hundreds or even thousands of dollars in back pay that is owed to them. If your employer writes checks that bounce to you for your work, the attorneys at Swartz Swidler might help to recover the money that you are owed.

What rights do you have when your paycheck bounces or you are paid late?

Federal law mandates employers to have enough money in their bank accounts to cover the money that they owe to their employees. Employers are also required to pay you on time for the work that you perform. In nearly every state, it is illegal for employers to bounce checks to their employees on purpose.

Some employers will routinely do this because their employees simply accept that they will eventually be paid what they are owed. Employers who engage in this type of practice may also engage in other practices that are shady, including the following:

  • Keeping track of work hours by hand;
  • Erasing some of the hours that you have worked;
  • Changing your timesheet frequently;
  • Routinely paying you late; and
  • Giving you check stubs that are inaccurate.

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Does My Employer Have To Let Me Ring My Service Animal To Work?

Some people who are disabled have service animals to help them complete many different tasks at home and work. People who have disabilities may also use their service animals at their jobs. For example, someone who is blind might use a guide dog to get around in the office while someone who has a seizure disorder might rely on a service dog that has been specially trained to recognize the warning signs of a seizure. If you have a disability and rely on a service animal, you should understand your rights in the workplace under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The employment law attorneys at Swartz Swidler can help you to understand your rights about bringing your service animal to work.

Service animals in the workplace

In the ADA’s discussion of public accommodations, service animals are defined as dogs that are trained to perform work to benefit people who have disabilities. The definition of service animals under the ADA does not include emotional support animals. These are animals that offer companionship and comfort to people who suffer from emotional or psychiatric conditions. While emotional support animals offer therapeutic benefits, they do not receive individualized training to perform specific jobs for their owners. Owners of public accommodations that are covered by the ADA are only required to accommodate people who have service animals. They are not required to allow people to bring their emotional support animals with them when they go to public accommodations.

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Most Frequently Asked Question: Do I Have A Case?

While it is true that every case is different, The law is pretty clear in most cases. The best way to determine if you have a case is to contact one of our attorneys. For more information check out the FAQ below or visit our FAQ Page

Most Frequently Asked Question:
Do I Have A Case?

While it is true that every case is different, The law is pretty clear in most cases. The best way to determine if you have a case is contact one of our attorneys. For more information on a just a few scenarios checkout the flip box FAQ below or visit our FAQ Page.

A 2019 Washington Post Report Says More than 1 million employment discrimination complaints have been filed with the government since 2010.

6 Steps To Take If You Are Experiencing FMLA Violations in the Workplace

  1. Document any comments or different treatment-experienced.
  2. Keep your documentation in a safe place.
  3. Gather all inappropriate texts, emails, notes, or other evidence.
  4. Report the violations at work in writing.
  5. File a complaint with the EEOC.
  6. Contact Swartz – Swidler for legal assistance with your claim.

If you or someone you know has experienced discrimination in the workplace. Help can be just a phone call away.

Our Locations

Cherry Hill Headquarters

1101 Kings Hwy N
Suite 402
Cherry Hill, New Jersey 08034

Phone: (856) 685-7420
Fax: (856) 685-7417

Philadelphia Satellite Office

123 South 22nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Phone: (215) 995-2733

Our Locations

Cherry Hill Headquarters

1101 Kings Hwy N
Suite 402
Cherry Hill, New Jersey 08034

Phone: (856) 685-7420
Fax: (856) 685-7417

Philadelphia Satellite Office

123 South 22nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Phone: (215) 995-2733