California CFRA Medical Leave Rights Explained

cfra medical leave rightsCFRA medical leave is intended to give employees an opportunity to take leave from work for certain presonal or family medical reasons without jeopardizing their job security. Nelson v United Technologieis (1999). Generally, CFRA makes it illegal for an employer of fifty or more employees to refuse to grant a request by an emloyee to take up to 12 weeks off work in any twelve month period for family care and medical leave. The goal of CFRA is to both prevent the effects of employment discriination and also promote CFRA’s specific goal of promoting stability and economic security in California families.

Employers subject to the CFRA medical leave laws are required to provide notice to thier employees of the right to request CFRA leave. Cal. Code. Regs, tit. 2, §7297.9(a). At the same time an employee who wishes to exercise his right to leave under CFRA should compy with Cal. Code Regs, tit. 2 §7297.4(a)(1): “An employee shall provide a tleast verbal notice sufficient to make the employer aware that the employee needs CFRA-qualifying leave, and the anticipated timing and duration of the leave. The employee need not expressly assert rights under CFRA or FMLA, or even moention CFRA of FMLA, to meet notice requirement however, the employee must state th reason the leave is needed, such as for instance, the expected birth of a child or for medical treatment. The employer should inquire further of the employee if it is necessary to have more information about whether CFRA leave is being sought by the employee and obtain the necessary details of the leave to be taken by that employee.

For example, in Mora v Chem-Tronics, Inc. (1998), the court held that when an employee stated to his employer that his son was HIV positive and had a very high fever and that the father could not leave his son when he was so ill, it was sufficient notice of the son’s serious medical condition as a matter of law for the purposes of obtaining CFRA leave.

Of course, despite that fact that verbal notice of the need for CFRA leave may be sufficient under the law, it’s a much better practice to provide written notice with proof of receipt or transmission, i.e. – by fax or by e-mail. This is especially important in larger companies, where a number of employees or even departments handle leave requests and where miscommunication or mishandling of leave requests is more likely to occur due to the sheer volume of requests or people involved in reviewing and granting request.