FMLA Employer Rules in Texas

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 is a federal law that requires covered employers to provide eligible employees with unpaid leave for medical and family reasons without fear of losing their position or job. In Texas, the law is reiterated under the Texas Government Code in Section 661.912 (Family and Medical Leave Act) although it is essentially the same as that described by the federal government. There are no special state laws regarding family and medical leave aside from the FMLA in Texas. Even then, according to the website of Houston-based Habush Habush & Rottier S.C., covered employers still attempt to deny eligible employees with their rights under the FMLA.

Private and public employers in Texas with a minimum of 50 employees within a 75 mile radius in the previous 20 weeks or so are covered by the FMLA. To comply with the regulations, all employers covered by the law should:

  • Post a notice of FMLA employer responsibilities and employee rights
  • Include adequate information regarding the FMLA in the employee handbook or as part of the orientation for new hires
  • Determine if the leave being requested by an employee may qualify as FMLA leave and to inform the employee if it is, and the deductions from FMLA entitlement that will result

Employers are barred from refusing an eligible employee’s request to avail of FMLA or to discourage employees from applying for FMLA benefits. An employer may also be subject to sanctions for discriminating or retaliating against an employee who has applied for FMLA, complained of unlawful behavior of an employer regarding the FMLA or for filing or testifying against an employer for FMLA-related charges.

FMLA enforcement is undertaken by the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor, and will receive complaints and allegations of FMLA violations against employers in Texas. Furthermore, an employee may be eligible to bring a civil case against a noncompliant employer. Check with an experienced FMLA attorney to know more about your options.

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