U.S. Department of Labor Recovers Wages for Employee Terminated In Violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act
NEW ORLEANS, LA – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Imperial Trading Co. LLC – a convenience store distributor of goods and services based in Elmwood, Louisiana – has paid $24,760 to a former employee for violating the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
WHD investigators found the employer illegally terminated the employee after it failed to recognize her as eligible for FMLA protected leave, despite being aware that she was incapacitated and required several consecutive overnight stays in the hospital. The employer miscalculated FMLA eligibility as a result of their failure to maintain original dates of hire for workers, like the affected employee, who began their employment with the firm through a placement agency. When Imperial Trading Co. LLC failed to recognize the employee’s FMLA eligibility, it erroneously terminated her employment because of her medically necessary absences. The employer also failed to keep records of the FMLA request, as required by law.
To resolve the violations, Imperial Trading Co. LLC paid the employee $12,380 for wages lost since her termination. In addition, in lieu of restoring the employee to her previous position, the employer paid her $12,380 for lost future earnings.
“Companies that rely on temporary labor providers should be aware that employees may reach eligibility for Family and Medical Leave Act protections even when they are jointly employed by more than one employer,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Troy Mouton in New Orleans, Louisiana. “The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to enforcing the law and educating employers to ensure employees are not prevented from exercising their FMLA rights. We encourage employers to reach out to us with questions so that violations like those in this case can be avoided.”
The Department offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as online videos, electronic toolkits, and in-person visits to local WHD staff.
For more information about the FMLA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information, such as FMLA Employee and FMLA Employer guides, is also available at https://www.dol.gov/whd.
The Mission of WHD is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation's workforce. WHD enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act and other statutes applicable to federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.