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News Brief

Bay Area medical center to pay nearly $38K to employee it fired illegally after the worker sought medical attention

Employers: Muir Orthopedics Specialists

Sites: 2625 Shadeland Drive, Walnut Creek, California

Investigation findings: Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that Muir Orthopedics Specialists violated the Family Leave Medical Act by terminating an employee who needed to take medical leave despite the fact that the employee provided written notice from her health care provider that demonstrated she needed the time off for a FMLA-qualifying health condition. The investigation determined that the employer failed to notify the employee of her rights, and failed to designate the leave as FMLA-protected. 

Resolution: Muir Orthopedics paid $18,683 in back wages and an equal, additional amount in damages to the terminated employee to remedy the violation.

Quote: “In this case, an employee was suddenly left without a job or a paycheck because her employer terminated her illegally,” said Susana Blanco, director of the San Francisco District Office. “This employee suffered emotional and financial stress at a time when she could least afford it. This investigation demonstrates the U.S. Department of Labor’s commitment to ensuring that employees are not retaliated against or prevented from exercising their FMLA rights.”

Information: The FMLA provides eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave due to their own or a family member’s serious health condition with continuation of health care coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. For more information about federal wage laws administered by the Wage and Hour Division, call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at

Wage and Hour Division
May 12, 2016
Release Number
Contact: Leo Kay
Phone Number
Contact: Jose Carnevali