News Brief

US Department of Labor recovers $61K for Owensboro health care worker denied protected medical leave, wrongfully terminated for exercising rights


Green River District Health Department 

1501 Breckinridge St.

Owensboro, KY 42303 

Investigation findings: The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division found Green River Health District terminated a health care worker after they exercised their right to use protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Investigators determined the employee notified their supervisor of the need for FMLA-protected leave. The employer received the worker’s FMLA certification letter and three hours later, sent an email to all staff members notifying them of a job posting for the employee’s position.

A month later, the employee provided their employer with a return-to-work statement indicating they would return to their position three days later. Less than two weeks later, Green River District Health Department called the employee into a meeting and informed them the employer would not renew the employees’ work contract. The employee worked for Green River District Health Department for several years, before the illegal termination.

Back wages recovered:         $61,224 in back wages to one worker                            

Quote: “The Family and Medical Leave Act provides critical workplace protections so that workers do not have to make the impossible choice between providing for themselves and their loved ones and seeking necessary medical treatments,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Karen Garnett-Civils in Louisville, Kentucky. “Employers and employees with questions about any aspect of the act’s protections should contact their local Wage and Hour Division office or review the numerous resources available on our website.” 

Background: Headquartered in Owensboro, Green River District Health Department is responsible for setting public health policy, managing community-wide preventative medicine, addressing and managing infectious disease response, providing women’s and other specialized forms of healthcare and other outpatient services. It covers a seven-county region including community health centers in Daviess, Hancock, Henderson, McLean, Ohio, Union and Webster counties. The department operates on a variety of revenues, including state and local taxes, federal funds and service fees.

Employers can contact the Wage and Hour Division at its toll-free number, 1-866-4-US-WAGE. Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division. The FMLA provides eligible employees of covered employers with job-protected leave for qualifying family and medical reasons. The FMLA protects leave for a number of conditions, including the birth or care of a child, or placement of a child for adoption or foster care, and care for a spouse or parent who has a serious health condition. Learn more about the FMLA.

Wage and Hour Division
November 15, 2023
Release Number
Media Contact: Erika Ruthman
Media Contact: Eric R. Lucero
Phone Number
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