CFRA / FMLA Leave Certification Requirements

A qualifying employee (who worked for his employer for 1,250 hours or more during the past year for a company with 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius) invokes his CFRA / FMLA rights when she asks for leave for her own serious health condition or that of a family member, and need not mention CFRA or FMLA by name in order to be entitled to leave. The employer may grant the leave without ever requesting medical certification. However, if the employer requires such certification, it should do so either at the time that the employee gives notice of her need for leave or within two business days thereafter, or – if the leave of the employee was unforeseeable – within two business days after the employee’s leave starts. Cal. Gov. Code section 12945.2(j)(1), (k)(1).

Under CFRA, the certification is legally sufficient if it includes the dates on which the condition started, and the estimated time the employee will require the leave. Once an employee provides adequate certification of her serious health condition, the employer must grant the leave, unless it has “reason to doubt the validity of the certification.” The employer may request an employee to undergo a second or third opinion of his condition if and only if the employer has a reason to doubt the validity of the original certification provided by the employee. Employers are required to obtain the opinion of a second and third doctor before denying leave or terminating an employee because of doubts about the validity of certification.

If you believe that you suffered an adverse employment action or were wrongfully terminated in retaliation for exercising your rights under FMLA / CFRA, contact San Francisco employment lawyer Arkady Itkin to discuss your rights.