Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- As a result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has reversed local management’s decision to terminate an employee at its store in Douglas. After the Labor Department raised allegations that the termination violated the Family and Medical Leave Act, the store reinstated the employee, paid her $20,899 in back wages, restored all benefits and bonuses, and deleted all negative references to unexcused absences from her personnel record.
The employee was terminated after she asked for leave to care for her minor child who had a serious health condition. Local management failed to recognize this situation as an FMLA-qualifying event and fired her for excessive unexcused absences.
“The Family and Medical Leave Act allows for workplace flexibility while protecting an employee’s job,” said Oliver Peebles III, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southeast. “The U.S. Labor Department values families and is committed to ensuring workers receive all the protections they are entitled to under federal labor laws, including the FMLA.”
In addition to rectifying this situation, the company has agreed to explore methods of improving communication between various store departments and human resources to prevent future violations.
The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance and other benefits under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.
This case was investigated by the Wage and Hour Division’s Savannah Area Office. For more information about the FMLA, call the Savannah office at 912-652-4221 or the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla.
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