The U.S. Department of Labor recovered more than $17,000 for a terminated employee after Publix Super Markets Inc. violated medical leave protections.
Investigators from the department's Labor Wage and Hour Division found that 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 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.
The department recovered $12,727 in back wages and $5,127 in medical expenses for the employee.
“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.”