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California Family Rights Act in Action

Know your rights under The California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) is a state law that provides employees with certain protections who need to take time off work for family or medical reasons. CFRA is intended to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities, and to ensure that they are not discriminated against or retaliated against for taking time off to address these responsibilities.

What is the California Family Rights Act (CFRA)?

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) is a state law that provides certain protections for employees who need to take time off work for family or medical reasons. Under the CFRA, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against or retaliate against an employee for exercising their rights under the CFRA. 

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How can my employer retaliate against me for taking leave?

Retaliation under CFRA can take many forms, including termination, demotion, reduction in pay or hours, or any other adverse employment action that is taken because the employee exercised their rights under the CFRA. 

What are my rights under CFRA?

Under CFRA, eligible employees have the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for the following reasons: ​

During CFRA leave, the employer is required to maintain the employee's group health insurance coverage and to restore the employee to the same or equivalent position upon their return to work. CFRA also prohibits employers from discriminating against or retaliating against employees who take CFRA leave. 

  • The birth of a child or the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care. 

  • To care for the employee's spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition. 

  • To attend to the employee's own serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of their job. 

Why would an employer discriminate or retaliate against their employees for taking leave? 

There are a variety of reasons why an employer might retaliate against an employee for taking time off under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). Some common reasons include: 

  • Discomfort with the idea of employees taking time off. Some employers may not be comfortable with the idea of employees taking time off for family or medical reasons and may retaliate against employees who do so. 

  • Inconvenience to the employer. If an employee's absence causes inconvenience to the employer or disrupts the operation of the business, the employer may be more likely to retaliate. 

  • A negative perception of employees who take time off. Some employers may view employees who take time off under the CFRA as less committed to their work and may retaliate against them. 

  • Unfamiliarity with CFRA protections. Some employers may not be familiar with the CFRA or may not understand the legal protections it provides to employees and may retaliate against employees who take time off under the law. 

Am I protected under CFRA? 

To be protected under CFRA, an employee must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months preceding the start of the leave. The employee must also work at a location where the employer has at least 5 employees. 

What do I do if my employer retaliated against me? 

If you believe that you have been the victim of retaliation in violation of the CFRA, you may be able to file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or bring a lawsuit against your employer. It is important to seek legal advice if you believe that you have been the victim of retaliation in violation of the CFRA. 

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