I'm sorry to hear of the situation.
First of all, we need to determine whether you qualify for leave under the FMLA.
To be eligible for leave under the FMLA or the CFRA in California, an employee must be either a full-time or part-time employee, have more than 12 months (52 weeks) of service with the employer, have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12-month period (24 hours per week) before the date the leave begins, and work at a location in which the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles radius of the employee's work site.
Based on these criteria, do you believe that you qualify? If your answer is yes, then you have the right to take up to 12 weeks leave to care for yourself or an immediate relative who has a serious medical condition. The fact that you may have been recently given a warning or notice does NOT prevent you from exercising your rights under the FMLA. All you need do it tell your employer or HR office that you need to take FMLA leave to care for your ill mother. The law will allow you to take this leave, and you may not lose your job or be retaliated against because you ask to take, or take, this leave.
If you believe that you are being discriminated against because of your race, age or gender, you may file a formal complaint of discrimination as well.
CA law prohibits harassment and discrimination in the workplace and if you have been discriminated against, you do have a legal remedy.
Workplace harassment/discrimination is any unwelcome or unwanted conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or an aversion toward another person on the basis of any characteristic protected by law, which includes an individual's race, color, gender, ethnic or national origin, age, religion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other personal characteristic protected by law. A conduct is considered unwelcome if the employee did not solicit, instigate or provoke it, and the employee regards XXXXX XXXXX as undesirable or offensive.
In CA you have two possible avenues of approach to dealing with discrimination. If your goal is to ultimately sue in Federal Court, then you will file a complaint with the EEOC, and if you want to be in the CA Superior Court---local to your county---then you will file with the DFEH and, if you want to, with the EEOC as well.
You may a formal complaint with the CA Department of Fair Employment and Housing alleging discrimination based on your race and/or national origin, age or gender.
To do this you must first make an appointment with the Department to be interviewed, either over the phone or at a local DFEH office. You may call the DFEH at(NNN) NNN-NNNN or apply on line by using the Department’s "Online Appointment System." The system will guide you through questions to determine whether an appointment is right for you.
Alternatively, you may file a complaint with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). If your company has 15 or more employees, they are prohibited from discriminating against you. To file a complaint with the EEOC, contact the nearest Equal Employment Opportunity Commission field office. To be automatically connected with the nearest office, call(NNN) NNN-NNNN EEOC website: www.eeoc.gov
Federal law specifically prohibits discrimination, based upon the Ethnicity, Color, Religion, National Origin, Age, Sex and Disability of an individual, with regard to hiring, promotion and firing.
After you file the complaint, your employer will be prohibited from any retaliatory action against you. The EEOC will investigate your claim, and 180 days after the filing of the complaint you may ask for a "right to sue letter". The EEOC will issue you the letter which gives you the right to institute a private civil action against your employer and seek monetary damages.
I hope you found my answer informative.
I wish you the best in 2012.