ATLANTA – The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $200,000 for a former Cobb & Douglas Public Health worker after the county agency violated the worker’s rights to protected leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.Investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division found Cobb & Douglas Public Health illegally fired a pharmacy worker after the employee – who experienced a two-night hospital visit and then required subsequent care for a worsening condition – tried to exercise their right to request and use FMLA-protected leave for a qualifying health condition. The division’s investigators determined the employer failed to:Inform the worker that they may have been eligible for FMLA leave within five business days of learning that their leave may be FMLA-qualifying. Provide a rights and responsibilities notice in writing to the employee at the time it was required or within five business days of learning of their leave.Allow the employee to exercise their rights under FMLA and instead terminating the worker a day after they requested FMLA paperwork.Reinstate the worker at the same or an equivalent position and instead illegally terminated the worker.“Employers cannot deprive an employee eligible for family and medical leave of their legal rights, 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 Steven Salazar in Atlanta. “The Family and Medical Leave Act allows workers to take reasonable unpaid leave for specific family and medical reasons, ensuring job security and health benefits during these periods.”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 for 395 workers.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 the 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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