Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.

News Release

Houston Railroad Company Pays Back Wages and Reinstates Employee Wrongly Denied Paid Leave to Care for Child During Pandemic

HOUSTON, TX – TracWorks Inc. – a railroad track construction, maintenance and rehabilitation company based in a Houston, Texas – has paid $4,804 in back wages after wrongly denying an employee leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSLA) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). 

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) found that an employee requested paid leave to care for their child after their school closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. TracWorks denied leave and later terminated the employee in violation of the EPSLA and EFMLEA provisions of the FFCRA. After contact by WHD, TracWorks paid the owed back wages and agreed to reinstate the employee.

“The U.S. Department of Labor continues to educate employees and employers during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Wage and Hour District Director Robin Mallett in Houston, Texas. “We encourage employers and employees to call us for assistance, to learn about the benefits and protections available under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and to use our educational online tools to avoid violations like those found in this case.”

The FFCRA helps the U.S. combat and defeat the workplace effects of the coronavirus by giving tax credits to American businesses with fewer than 500 employees either to provide employees with paid leave for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members. Please visit WHD’s “Quick Benefits Tips” for information about how much leave workers may qualify to use, and the wages employers must pay. The law enables employers to provide paid leave reimbursed by tax credits, while at the same time ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus.

WHD continues to provide updated information on its website and through extensive outreach efforts to ensure that workers and employers have the information they need about the benefits and protections of this new law.

Learn more about the laws enforced by WHD, or call 866-4US-WAGE.

For further information about the coronavirus, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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.

Wage and Hour Division
November 10, 2020
Release Number
Media Contact: Chauntra Rideaux
Media Contact: Juan Rodriguez
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