US Department of Labor recovers more than $17K for illegally terminated employee after Publix Super Markets Inc. violates medical leave protections
Employer name: Publix Super Markets Inc.
Investigation site: 3300 Publix Corp. Parkway, Lakeland, FL 33811
Investigation findings: U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigators found the regional grocery store chain illegally terminated a Boynton Beach warehouse employee after the worker exercised their right to take protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act for a qualifying health condition. Investigators determined Publix Super Markets Inc. failed to provide a timely FMLA-leave eligibility notification letter, a rights and responsibilities notice, and a designation notice to the employee. The employer also failed to properly communicate the specific obligations of the employee, or remedial steps if worker did not meet those requirements.
Back Wages Recovered: The department recovered $12,727 in back wages and $5,127 in medical expenses for the employee.
Quote: “Employees should never have to choose between caring for themselves or a loved one and losing their jobs,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Daniel Cronin in Miami. “The Family and Medical Leave Act protects eligible workers from an employer’s interference, restraint, or retaliation when they take qualifying leave. Employees who experience violations may be entitled to reinstatement, payment of back wages or other make-whole relief for medical expenses. Employers who comply with labor laws and appreciate the dignity of work will have the greatest appeal to workers and be able to retain valued employees and recruit others to operate their businesses successfully.”
Employers can contact the Wage and Hour Division at its toll-free number, 1-866-4-US-WAGE. The division also offers numerous online resources for employers. Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages. Workers who feel they may not be getting the wages they earned may contact Wage and Hour Division in their state through a list and interactive online map on the agency’s website. Workers and employers alike can help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android Timesheet App for free.