FMLA Lawyer

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) defines the rules and process for eligible employees who request, take and return from a temporary medical leave. A covered employer is responsible for responding to FMLA requests and providing accommodations necessary for the leave.   

Gregg Gerlach regularly conducts FMLA Master Classes around Florida to attorneys and HR professionals. He comes alongside businesses to evaluate and process leave requests. He represents employers and defends FMLA investigations brought by the DOL (Department of Labor) as well as FMLA lawsuits filed in state and federal courts.

We help make sure that employers properly classify employees, understand the medical documentation that must be obtained, and what reasonable accommodations look like. 


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Qualifying Reasons to Leave
Covered Employees
Employee Eligibility
Employer Requirements
Denying FMLA

The FMLA is a statute with detailed requirements for what to do when employees need varying levels of care and time away from work. These laws may apply to covered workers needing medical treatment, workers who are helping someone undergoing medical treatment, or workers who are caring for a dependent.

Eligible employees may take up to 12 work weeks of leave in a 12-month period if the have a qualifying reason.

Qualifying Reasons for Leave 


  • Care for a newborn, adopted child or foster.
  • Pregnancy complications.
  • Caring for an immediate family member with a serious health condition. 
  • Health conditions or Medical reasons preventing work
  • Reasons related to active duty

Certification: An employer may request certification of a medical illness or condition from a heath care provider that confirms the qualifying reasons for leave. The employer can also request a second or third medical opinion, at company’s expense. The employer can also request periodic recertification for serious health conditions. 

Covered Employers

Covered employers must provide eligible employees with unpaid, job-protected leave for certain family and medical reasons.

Public Agencies

This includes local, state and Federal government agencies. Not contingent of number of employees.

Private Sector Employers

Employers with 50 or more employees working for 20 or more weeks in the current or previous calendar year.

Educational Agencies

Public or private elementary or secondary school. Not contingent on number of employees. 

Employee Eligibility

Eligible Employees Must: 

  • Work for a covered employer (see above) 
  • Work at least 12 months for that employer
  • Work at least 1,250 hours for that employers during the preceding 12 months
  • Work at a locations where the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles.

Employer Requirements

  • Post a notice with rights and responsibilities under FMLA. If you do not have this in a visible spot for employees to see, your company may be subject to a civil money penalty.
  • Provide clear information about the FMLA either in the employee handbook or during your employee onboarding process
  • Following a formal FMLA request or communication of an FMLA-qualifying reason for leave, the employer must give provide a notice clarifying FMLA eligibility and rights and responsibility.
  • Provide employees clarification as to whether their leave is considered FMLA leave as well as how much qualifying FMLA time will be used.


  • When possible, employees must request leave 30 days in advance 
  • If the timing was unforeseeable, employees must provide notice as early as possible 
  • The time length for employers to respond to leave requests is 12 days.
  • The length of days for employees to respond for requests for medical certification is 15 days.
  • Employees may be required to use paid leave first

Correct Process for Denying FMLA

The process for approving or denying leave has many steps, and begins with having an FMLA poster visible. Once an employee requests leave, the employer looks at eligibility, provides notice, requests and reviews medical certification, evaluates for a qualifying reason, and then grants or denies the request. If it is granted, the employee will maintain health benefits and by restored to their position when they return. Employers are required to provide a notice that includes how time will be tracked during the leave, what type of medication certification is needed, what rights employees have regarding returning to the same position, pay and benefits.

 FMLA remains an area where sound, practical, preventive advice can pay dividends to employers. 

We will investigate claims that FMLA has been unfairly denied or improperly followed to help protect your company from future liabilities. Former employees may seek back pay, out of pocket legal costs, front pay, and liquidated damages. If you are planning on terminating an employee, an attorney can help you take the proper steps. Because of the range and complexity of medical medical matters and employee needs, you may benefit from having an attorney guide you through the vast applications of the FMLA. 

How do you know if your employees are properly classified?

Employers are required to engage in a good faith analysis of exemption status using appropriate regulations from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Consult with a wage and hour lawyer to ensure that you are not violating statutes set by the FLSA. 

Can parents use FMLA to care for children needing medical treatment?

Florida has no law for overtime hour worked in a day. 

Do employees need to prove that they were working from home for unpaid wages claims?

The burden of proof for whether or not an employee was working from home is on the employer. 

What is the minimum salary for exempt employees?

The Department of Labor requires exempt employees to be compensated by a salary that is a minimums of $684.00 per week. These positions must also meet certain tests to qualify for exemption. 

How to you defend against claims that employees did not receive accomodations?

The burden of proof for whether or not an employee was working from home is on the employer.

What should medical certification include?

Contact information for health care provider, the date the medical condition began, projects time the condition will last and time needed for MFLA, condition details such as treatment, hospitalization, whether the leave is continuous or broken up

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