Firing an employee on FMLA leave landed this employer on the DOL's 'naughty list'

12/15/2023

FMLA violations are just a click away for employees with grievances

Last month, the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) found that a health department fired an employee who exercised their right to use job-protected leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

WHD investigators determined the employee notified their supervisor of the need for FMLA leave. The employer requested and received the employee's FMLA certification. Three hours later, the employer emailed all staff members notifying them of a job posting for the employee's position.

A month later, the employee gave the employer a return-to-work statement indicating they would return to their position in three days.

Short return

Less than two weeks later, the employer called the employee into a meeting and informed them that it would not renew their work contract, despite having worked for the employer for several years before the illegal termination.

The WHD was involved in an investigation, which resulted in the agency recovering $61,224 in back wages for the employee.

FMLA investigations

Although the WHD investigates workplace complaints, they don't typically disclose the reason for an investigation. If violations can't be resolved, the U.S. Department of Labor might take an employer to court to enforce compliance with employment laws. Employees can also bring a private civil action against an employer for violations.

The WHD's website has an area where employees can submit their complaints, complete with simple instructions, making it easy for employees to notify the WHD about workplace violations. Thus, it's more important than ever for employers to adhere to all applicable labor laws.

Key to Remember: Employees who feel their FMLA rights have been violated can easily file a complaint with the WHD.

This article was written by Darlene M. Clabault, SHRM-CP, PHR, CLMS, of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. The content of these news items, in whole or in part, MAY NOT be copied into any other uses without consulting the originator of the content.

The J. J. Keller FMLA Manager service is your business resource for tracking employee leave and ensuring compliance with the latest Federal and State FMLA requirements.