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Press Releases

U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Release Number: 11-1782-DAL

Date: 

Jan. 18, 2012

Contact: 

Juan Rodriguez, Elizabeth Todd

Phone: 

972-850-4709, 972-850-4710

US Labor Department investigation recovers nearly $8,000 in back wages for former employee of University Health System in San Antonio


Mandated full-time unpaid leave violated Family and Medical Leave Act

SAN ANTONIO -- Bexar County Hospital District, doing business as University Health System in San Antonio, has agreed to pay a former employee $7,915 in back wages after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that the hospital had placed the worker on full-time unpaid leave, in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act.

The investigation, conducted by the Wage and Hour Division’s San Antonio District Office, found that University Health System had denied an employee’s request for intermittent leave related to a serious chronic health condition. The employer instead insisted that the leave be taken continuously – even though the worker was capable of performing the job with intermittent leave. As a result, the employee used more leave than was medically necessary, resulting in lost wages over a three-month period.

“The Family and Medical Leave Act allows for workplace flexibility by giving an eligible employee the right to take a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during any 12-month period to address a serious health condition that makes him or her unable to perform the essential functions of the job,” said Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest. “Leave may be taken all at once, or on an intermittent basis, as the condition requires. The Labor Department is committed to ensuring worker protections guaranteed by federal law, as well as to educating employers and holding them responsible for compliance.”

In addition to paying back wages, University Health System agreed to maintain future compliance with the FMLA, ensure that managers receive FMLA training, and notify its employees of their rights and responsibilities under the act. The Bexar County Hospital District is the third-largest public health system in Texas with about 5,000 employees and 700 resident physicians.

The FMLA’s protections include continuation during leave of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. Information about the FMLA is available on the Wage and Hour Division’s website at http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/index.htm.

For additional information about the FMLA and other federal labor laws enforced by the division, call its toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or the agency’s San Antonio office at 210-308-4515.

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U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7828 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America’s employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.