Company owes worker at least 30K in wages and damages


Just because you don’t always have to pay employees when they’re on leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be on the lookout for any pay-related issues.


If it even looks like FMLA leave was a factor in an employee receiving a lower salary or another negative employment action, the Dept. of Labor (DOL) may come knocking.


Recently, the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division investigated a retaliation claim where a worker said he was denied a promotion solely due to taking intermittent FMLA leave.


The employee, a nurse at Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital in Michigan, said he asked for intermittent medical leave on two occasions so he could care of seriously ill family members.


The hospital still expected him to perform the duties of a full-time employee while on leave, and the employer refused to consider him for a promotion – even though he was otherwise qualified for the role.


This counted as FMLA interference and retaliation to a district judge, and the employee’s now owed at least $30,513 in back wages and damages.


Legal guidance


Federal law is clear: Employers are forbidden from discriminating or retaliating against any employee for exercising the right to take FMLA leave.


Discriminatory behavior can include refusing to promote an employee who’s on FMLA leave or discouraging a worker from taking it altogether.


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