Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
U.S. Department of Labor
Settlement reached by Presbyterian Hospital following U.S. Labor Department FMLA investigation
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Presbyterian Healthcare Services in Albuquerque, one of the largest health care providers in New Mexico, has agreed to comply with the law in a settlement that requires corrections to its Family and Medical Leave Act policies and practices.
An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division’s Albuquerque District Office found several FMLA violations that affected more than 9,600 employees, including wrongful denial of leave to nearly a dozen eligible employees and improperly requesting more information than permitted under the law.
Presbyterian has signed a settlement agreement with the Wage and Hour Division to attest their agreement to come into and maintain compliance with the FMLA. Terms of the settlement include requirements for Presbyterian to make corrections to the wrongful denials and provide FMLA leave benefits to future eligible employees; supply FMLA training to managers; update its policy regarding normal call-in procedures when employees need FMLA leave; give proper advance notice of fitness-for-duty medical certification requests for employees to return to work; and eliminate the annual automatic renewal of medical certification without a leave request from the employee.
“The FMLA gives eligible employees the ability to help balance the demands from work and family that we all face without the worry of being fired or disciplined for taking FMLA leave. This agreement will impact thousands of families in New Mexico by ensuring employers will comply with the protections and benefits afforded to them under the FMLA. We are pleased that Presbyterian Healthcare Services will make these significant changes in its FMLA policy,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest.
Under the FMLA, an employer is prohibited from interfering with, restraining or denying the exercise of, or the attempt to exercise, any FMLA right. Employers are prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against an employee or prospective employee for having exercised or attempting to exercise any FMLA right. Specifically, an employer may not use an employee’s request for or use of FMLA leave as a negative factor in employment actions, such as hiring, promotions or disciplinary procedures.
For more information about the FMLA and other federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or the division’s Albuquerque District Office at 505-248-6100. Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7828 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America’s employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.