Dawicke Law
Jason E. Dawicke, Attorney at Law
Dawicke Law
P.O. Box 663
Lewis Center, OH 43035


Prior to 1993, employees that missed work because of their own serious health conditions or to take care of family members with serious health conditions had no job protection. Their employers could legally discipline them for these absences. Likewise, parents had no job protection if they wanted to take time off from work to care for newborn babies or adopted children.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was enacted in order to allow employees to balance their work and family life by taking reasonable unpaid leave under certain circumstances. The FMLA permits employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a specified 12 month period for the following qualifying events:
  • the birth of a child
  • the adoption or foster care placement of a child with the employee
  • the serious health condition of an employee's spouse, child, or parent
  • the serious health condition of the employee him or herself
Unfortunately, not all employees are entitled to FMLA leave. In order to be entitled to FMLA leave, you must work for a government agency or for a private company that employs 50 or more employees. In addition, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:
  • have worked for your employer for at least 12 months
  • have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to leave
  • be employed at a worksite with at least 50 workers at the site (including temporary and leased workers) or within 75 miles of the site
  • experience a "qualifying event" (i.e. "serious health condition") and provide timely notification of the need for leave to the employer
Determining what qualifies as a "serious health condition" can be rather complex. It is far more inclusive than what qualifies as a disability, but still does not encompass all medical problems. For instance, the common cold, flu, or strep throat will not typically qualify as serious health conditions. In a nutshell, a serious health condition is an illness, injury, or condition that involves one (1) or more of the following:
  • An overnight hospital stay
  • Incapacity (inability to work, attend school, or engage in regular daily activities) for more than 3 consecutive calendar days and continuing treatment by a health care provider
  • Incapacity due to a serious chronic disorder (i.e. asthma, diabetes)
  • Incapacity due to pregnancy
  • Long-term or permanent disabilities (i.e. stroke, terminal diseases)
  • Any absence to receive multiple treatments either for restorative surgery after an injury or to prevent a period of incapacity of more than three (3) consecutive days
In order to be entitled to FMLA benefits, you must provide timely notification of the need for leave to your employer at least 30 days in advance of the requested leave when the need for leave is foreseeable (i.e. birth of a child, scheduled surgeries). When the leave is unforeseeable, as in cases of medical emergencies, you must provide notice to your employer "as soon as practicable" (usually 1 or 2 business days). You may also use FMLA intermittently. This permits you to take leave in short chunks of time. Therefore, if you suffer from a chronic condition that periodically requires you to be late or absent from work, you can take FMLA leave for smaller increments (i.e. 15 minutes, 1 hour, or 8 hours).

If you meet all of the eligibility requirements, you have an absolute right to take FMLA leave (unless qualifying as a rare "key" employee), and your employer's interference in taking leave constitutes an FMLA violation. In addition, your employer must continue to maintain all health benefits as if you were still working.

Whether taking approved FMLA leave for a full 12 weeks or in shorter increments, you have certain rights upon your return to work. The most significant protection requires that you be restored to your former position or its equivalent. In addition, your employer is not permitted to retaliate against you for taking leave.

If you feel that your employer has interfered with your right to take FMLA leave or has retaliated against you for taking such leave, please complete and submit the following form fields:

All fields are required
Full Name:
Phone Number:
Email Address (if none, enter N/A):
Preferred Method of Contact:
Employer at Issue:
Does your company employ at least 50 employees within 75 miles of your worksite or is a governmental agency?
Have you worked for your employer for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1250 hours (about 24 hours/week) within the 12 months prior to the FMLA leave at issue?
Have you taken any other significant FMLA leave during the 12 months prior to the leave at issue? If so, how much FMLA time do you have remaining (you are entitled to 12 total weeks)?
Did you notify your employer of your need for FMLA leave? If yes, when did you provide notice?
How did you provide notice (i.e. called in, provided a certification form signed by your medical provider)?
Briefly describe why you required the FMLA leave at issue:
If the requested FMLA leave was for your own serious health condition, please describe your condition and how it impairs your ability to work:
Were you approved for intermittent leave due to a chronic condition?
If approved for intermittent FMLA leave, did you notify your employer of the reason for leave on the date that you used the leave?
Briefly describe why you feel that your employer violated the FMLA:
Form of adverse action suffered
(i.e. fired, laid off, demoted, etc.):
Date(s) of adverse action:
What reason(s) do you anticipate that your employer will offer as justification for taking the adverse action against you?
Submission of this form does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Upon review of your responses, I may offer to represent you. Unless and until you receive a signed letter from me confirming representation, I have not agreed to represent you. In addition, submission of this form does not relieve you from complying with all applicable statutory deadlines required for filing your claim(s) with the appropriate agency or court.