NASHVILLE, TN – The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $47,728 in back wages and liquidated damages for two former employees of two separate Tennessee-based healthcare providers that violated their rights to protected leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.Investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division found Nashville’s Wellpath LLC illegally fired a medical office assistant – working at the Mecklenburg County Jail in Charlotte, North Carolina – after the employee exercised their right to request and use FMLA-protected leave for a qualifying health condition. In a separate investigation, the agency found Whites Creek Operating Group – operating as Whites Creek Wellness & Rehabilitation in Whites Creek, Tennessee – illegally fired a housekeeper after the employee exercised their right to request and use FMLA-protected leave for a qualifying health condition.Agency investigators determined the employers failed to:Inform the workers that they may have been eligible for leave within five business days of learning that their leave may be FMLA-qualifying.Provide a rights and responsibilities notice in writing to an employee at the time it was required to provide the eligibility notice, or within five business days of learning of their leave.Inform employees if their leave would be designated as FMLA-qualifying within five business days of knowledge of their leave.Correctly classify an employee’s absences from work as FMLA-qualifying.Include all of the required information about the FMLA in their company handbook.“The Family and Medical Leave Act makes clear that employers cannot deprive an eligible employee of leave, forcing them to make the hard choice between keeping their jobs and caring for themselves or their families,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Lisa Kelly in Nashville, Tennessee. “The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to ensuring that employees’ rights under the FMLA are protected. We encourage employers to review the numerous tools and resources we provide to help them understand their rights and obligations under this law.”In fiscal year 2023, the Wage and Hour Division concluded 334 FMLA compliance actions with violations and recovered more than $987,000 in back wages.Headquartered in Nashville, Wellpath LLC is a medical and mental healthcare company that employs approximately 15,000 clinicians at 550 facilities in 36 U.S. states and Australia. Whites Creek Wellness & Rehabilitation is a nursing facility that provides rehabilitation, respite care, outpatient therapy and long-term care to patients and employs approximately 120 workers at the facility. Learn more about the FMLA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, including an FMLA Compliance Assistance Toolkit, or contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).Workers and employers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions, regardless of where they are from, and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages. Learn more about Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.
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