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California Family Rights Act


alifornia workers expect certain considerations from their employers in exchange for their hard work, time, and effort. This is especially true when personal or medical issues arise. Even though employees are afforded Family and Medical Leave under federal law (the FMLA), California lawmakers have passed the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) to supplement those protections.

Even with such protections in place, some employers choose to discriminate and retaliate against employees who utilize this time off from work. You have the right to take time off from work due to a family or medical emergency without backlash from your employer. Contact the experienced team of attorneys at Blackstone Law today, and they will help you hold your employer accountable.

CFRA versus FMLA

The obvious difference between the California Family Rights Act and the Family Medical Leave Act is that one is a state law and the other is a federal law. As a federal law, the FMLA takes precedence over the CFRA. Like the FMLA, the CFRA allows up to twelve weeks of leave in a twelve-month period. The CFRA, however, differs from FMLA in the following ways:

  • Employer coverage is active with five or more employees
  • Pregnancy is not considered a “serious health condition”
  • Registered domestic partners are equal to spouses
  • Family members include grandparents
  • No “key” employee exemption
  • No “qualifying exigency” for a family member’s active-duty military service
  • Leave for care of ill or injured service member is covered

It is important to understand the differences between the CFRA and the FMLA. An attorney will be able to explain these differences in more detail to you as you discuss your case.

What Does CFRA Discrimination or Retaliation Look Like?

Unfortunately, employers are ill-prepared for when their employees need to take an extended leave. An employee taking CFRA leave can expose existing stresses on a business, and the employer will make the employee’s already stressful situation worse by taking adverse actions against them. Such adverse action usually includes the following: 

  • Escalation of minor performance issues
  • Unreasonable work demands and unrealistic expectations
  • Unfair disciplinary actions or performance improvement plans (PIP)
  • Suspicious and selective layoffs

In addition to interfering with your CFRA rights, all of the above scenarios can have a chilling effect and discourage other employees from taking the leave to which they are entitled.

What Actions Can Be Taken, and What Remedies Exist for CFRA Leave Discrimination?

CFRA claims typically take two forms. The two types of CFRA claims are as follows:


In an interference claim, the employee asserts that the employer has denied or otherwise interfered with their substantive statutory rights when they were denied leave.


In a retaliation claim, the employee asserts that the employer has taken an adverse action against an employee for engaging in one or more protected activities. This typically occurs when the employer discriminates or outright terminates the employee that took leave for pretextual reasons.

If you are successful in litigating a CFRA claim, you can expect the following:

  • Reinstatement of your lost job
  • Retroactive wages for wrongful termination
  • Interest on wages your employer owed you
  • Emotional distress recovery
  • Punitive damages

An experienced Los Angeles employment attorney will be able to help you navigate the complicated legal process of filing a claim against your employer.

Contact a CFRA Attorney at Blackstone Law Today

The legal team at Blackstone Law has years of experience handling cases involving employers that do not respect their employees’ rights under California law. We know that if you need CFRA leave, you are most likely in a vulnerable position. We want to help you during this difficult time. CFRA retaliation is unacceptable. If you have suffered disparate treatment after taking CFRA leave, do not hesitate to contact Blackstone Law. For a free consultation, you can call (310) 956-4054 or contact us through our website.

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