US Department of Labor recovers $67K for employee illegally terminated for exercising rights to bond with newborn child, care for spouse
COVINGTON, GA – A Covington distribution center turned an employee and their family’s joyous celebration of life and a chance to bond with their newborn into a nightmare by illegally terminating the worker for exercising their rights under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, an investigation has found.
Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found U.S. Logistics Solutions Inc. – part of a large network of logistics providers based in Humble, Texas – fired a dock supervisor after they exercised their right to request and use FMLA-protected leave for parental bonding and to care for a spouse with a qualifying health condition.
The division determined the employer – despite being aware of the child’s birth – withheld parental leave from the employee. In fact, on June 2, 2022 – 42 days after the birth – the employer summoned the employee to a meeting to discuss the FMLA denial for care of his spouse and allege payroll theft. At the meeting, the employer told the employee they were being terminated.
A week later, on June 9, 2022, U.S. Logistics Solutions notified that the company had cancelled the employee’s FMLA parental bonding request on April 13, 2022, eight days before the child’s birth. Investigators found the employer failed to inform the employee of the cancellation before June 2022.
The department’s investigation led to the recovery of $67,140 for the former employee. The total includes missed earnings after being terminated, front pay for one year and unpaid earned time off.
“Employers cannot deprive an employee eligible for Family and Medical Leave of their legal rights, and force them to make the hard choice between keeping their jobs and caring for themselves or their families,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Steven Salazar in Atlanta. “Federal law prevents employers from retaliating against workers who choose to exercise their right to bond with a newborn child.”
In fiscal year 2022, the Wage and Hour Division investigated 780 FMLA complaints and recovered more than $870,000 in back wages for violations ranked most significant.
U.S. Logistics Solutions Inc. employees about 1,500 employees at 24 warehouses nationwide.
Learn more about the FMLA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, including an FMLA Compliance Assistance Toolkit, or contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).
Workers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with questions, regardless of where they are from, and the department can speak with callers in more than 200 languages. Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.