News Release

U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in Kentucky Veterinary Clinic Paying Employee Back Wages and Damages for Failing to Accommodate Nursing Mother

FLORENCE, KY – After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Pet Wellness Group PLLC – a veterinary medical clinic based in Florence, Kentucky – has paid $7,794 in back wages and liquidated damages to an employee for violating the nursing mothers’ provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

WHD found Pet Wellness Group PLLC refused to allow an employee to take reasonable breaks to express breast milk for her newborn child. The FLSA provision states that employers must provide a reasonable break time to allow employees to express breast milk for a nursing child for up to one year after the child’s birth. In addition, employers must provide a location, other than a bathroom, shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public for that purpose.

“The Wage and Hour Division enforces the Fair Labor Standards Act’s provision that protects a nursing mother’s right to express breast milk for her newborn children,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Karen Garnett-Civils, in Louisville, Kentucky. “The law recognizes the unique needs of working mothers with newborn children and makes clear the accommodations that employers must make. Other employers should use the outcome of this investigation as an opportunity to review their own practices to ensure that they comply with the law.”

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, confidential calls, or in-person visits to local WHD offices.

For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/whd.

WHD’s mission 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.

Agency
Wage and Hour Division
Date
November 21, 2019
Release Number
19-1927-ATL
Contact: Eric R. Lucero
Phone Number
Contact: Michael D'Aquino
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