News Release

U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in Federal Court Finding Michigan Health Department and Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital Violated Family and Medical Leave Act

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – In a summary judgment, following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), the U.S. District Court in Western Michigan has found the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital interfered with an employee’s Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitlements and retaliated against him for taking protected leave. U.S. District Judge Paul L. Maloney ordered Michigan DHHS and the hospital to pay the nurse $30,513 in back wages, retirement contributions, interest, and liquidated damages.

WHD investigators determined that Michigan DHHS and the hospital expected the nurse to complete the duties of a full-time employee while on leave and denied the nurse a promotion, for which he was qualified, to Assistant Director of Nursing.

The court also found the nurse is entitled to pay he would have earned if he had been promoted. Judge Maloney set a trial date of June 18, 2018, to determine the amount of additional pay due and to consider the awarding of injunctive relief. 

“The Family and Medical Leave Act was enacted to protect employees in just this type of circumstance so that they can request leave to balance both their job and family responsibilities,” said Mary O’Rourke, Wage and Hour Division Director in Grand Rapids. “We encourage employers to contact us for information to ensure they understand their responsibilities under the law. The Division provides a variety of tools for employers to ensure that they operate in compliance.”

The employee made two requests for intermittent FMLA leave to care for family members who suffered from serious health conditions and required transportation to medical appointments.

The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons. Workers and employers with questions about the FMLA and all of the federal wage laws administered by the Division should call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). All calls are confidential.  More information is available online at https://www.dol.gov/whd/.

Court: U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
Docket Number: 1:16-cv-01368

Agency
Wage and Hour Division
Date
May 1, 2018
Release Number
18-667-CHI
Contact: Scott Allen
Phone Number
Contact: Rhonda Burke
Phone Number