Q. Is my employer required to pay me when I take FMLA leave?
A. The FMLA only requires unpaid leave. However, the law permits an employee to elect, or the employer to require the employee, to use accrued paid vacation leave, paid sick or family leave for some or all of the FMLA leave period. An employee must follow the employer’s normal leave rules in order to substitute paid leave. When paid leave is used for an FMLA-covered reason, the leave is FMLA-protected.
Q. Can an employer ask about the disability or require an applicant to take a medical examination?
A. An employer cannot require any medical tests, or ask the employee or her references about medical or worker’s compensation history, or ask even general questions about an applicant’s health until after a job or promotion is offered. Post-employment medical examinations are only allowed if an offer has been made and all employees in the same or similar positions are required to take the test and the results of the examination are kept in a confidential file, and the results will not be used to withdraw the offer of employment unless the examination revealed that the applicant is not qualified.
Q. Am I entitled to severance pay if I am terminated from my job?
A. Unless a pre-existing employment agreement provides for severance pay the employer is not required to do so. However, some employers will offer severance pay in exchange for a release of any potential claims that might arise from termination. If an employee believes he or she has a valid claim against the employer then care must be taken to ensure fair compensation is given in exchange for signing the release. In some cases, an employee may be better off rejecting the severance pay and pursuing a claim for discrimination, unlawful termination, or other basis. Bryant Legal Group PC attorneys can evaluate and help determine the better course of action.
Q. I have just been offered my “dream” job at an up and coming tech firm. However, they have asked me to sign a non-compete agreement that would prevent me from leaving and joining a competitor that does similar work. Should I sign the agreement?
A. Any non-compete agreement must be both reasonable in scope and geographic restriction. Before signing any non-compete agreement you should consult an attorney who can evaluate the terms and conditions of the agreement. The attorneys at Bryant Legal Group PC can evaluate that agreement and negotiate on your behalf to prevent unreasonable restrictions that could prohibit you from earning a living in your field should your dream job turn out otherwise.
Q. My job was eliminated during the company’s restructuring. One of the benefits I received while employed was a sizable group life insurance policy. Will I receive a conversion notice from my employer about that policy?
A. You should receive a conversion notification from your former employer or benefits administrator that will indicate your last day of employment, and the coverage amount you, your spouse, and other dependents that were covered under the group life insurance certificate are eligible to convert. If you do not promptly receive this notification, you should contact your former employer or benefits administrator as your conversion rights are not unlimited and will expire.
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