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When you're dealing with a major medical problem, either yours or a loved one's, the last thing you want to worry about is work. Requesting FMLA leave can ensure that you're given unpaid time off and that your job is still waiting for you when you return, but you need to give proper notice.

So what do you need to do? Here's a quick legal overview of how to request FMLA leave from your employer:

Employers often prey on the naivete of employees when shorting them on pay, refusing benefits, or even firing them. An employment attorney can make sure that you're protected from any legal shenanigans your employer tries to pull, as well as clue you in to rights you didn't know you had.

Check out these five things an employment attorney can help you with, that you probably can't do on your own:

Filing for government unemployment insurance benefits can be a life saver when you lose your job and need to pay bills while you look for another one. But while collecting unemployment, are you allowed to go on vacation?

In exchange for unemployment benefits, you are bound to follow certain rules regarding what you need to do -- which typically includes looking for a new job -- as well as rules about what you shouldn't do, such as failing to report any earned income other than unemployment benefits.

So what about leaving town for a little rest and relaxation? Here are some general considerations:

For the first time in more than 30 years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued new federal guidelines about workplace pregnancy discrimination.

The EEOC's new guidelines follow an increase in complaints of pregnant workers being discriminated against over the last decade, reports The New York Times. The guidance also comes as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear a workplace pregnancy-discrimination case during its upcoming term in October.

So what do current and future moms need to know about the new guidelines?

Supervisors and employees often work closely together and may even develop friendships, but this is no excuse to tolerate sexual harassment in or out of the workplace.

Because of their positions of authority, supervisors can often coerce their employees into not reporting or simply tolerating inappropriate conduct and behaviors. But employees do not have to remain silent.

Here are five inappropriate behaviors that employees should not have to tolerate from supervisors:

Most discrimination suits based on federal employment law require that an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint be filed first. For those who feel they have suffered discrimination in the workplace, filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC is essential to successfully litigating a discrimination claim.

So where do you even begin? Here's a general overview on how to properly file an EEOC workplace discrimination complaint:

If you were stuck at work last month while your friends were all celebrating Memorial Day, you may be asking yourself: Can my boss really make me work on a holiday?

After all, government services like post offices and banks are all closed on federal holidays, so shouldn't you get the day off too?

Well before you make your big plans for the Fourth of July, you should probably keep reading.

With the holy month of Ramadan beginning this weekend, Muslims may need to give employers a heads-up about any accommodations they might need.

It can be a pain to remind your boss about Ramadan every year, as the Islamic (lunar) calendar doesn't track with the Gregorian (solar) calendar, but the law is on your side. Even if you aren't Muslim, being aware of other employees' religious observances at work is important.

To help you prepare for the holy month, here are three legal facts to remember about observing Ramadan at work:

Unemployment insurance can be a boon when you're suddenly laid off, but getting severance pay may pull that financial cushion out from under you.

Like an unemployment check, severance pay is also intended to ease your transition to your next job. Yet some states may ask you to choose between the two.

So when and how does severance affect unemployment insurance? It depends on your particular situation, including which state you live in. Here are a few possibilities:

Noncompete clauses are fairly common in work contracts, but they have a habit of sneaking up on former employees.

Take Colette Buser, a 19-year-old college student with years of summer camp experience, who was seemingly barred from working at any camp in Massachusetts because of her contract with her prior employer. You typically think of these sorts of contract issues affecting high-level managers and investment brokers, but as The New York Times reports, these noncompete clauses are increasingly required of employees in any industry.

So is the noncompete clause in your work contract legal?