Labor Department Forces Houston Clinic to Pay Employee's Back Wages

The U.S. Department of Labor has cited Houston Ear, Nose & Throat Clinic, LLP, for screwing an employee out of their rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act, and has ordered the clinic to pay $17,390 in back wages and other expenses.

The investigation found that, when the employee returned from leave, the company forced the employee into a part-time position with "fewer working hours and without the same benefits held before taking FMLA leave," according to a U.S. Department of Labor press release.

The company "was charged with several additional FMLA violations [including]...failing to keep the proper records required by the FMLA; and failing to have a current FMLA policy reflecting the most recent provisions of the law," according to the release.

The clinic "agreed to reinstate the employee to the previously held full-time position with the same pay rate and benefits; pay all the back wages due; ensure that all eligible employees taking FMLA leave are properly provided with the required notices; maintain the necessary records; update its written FMLA policy; and conduct FMLA training with its managers," according to the release.

The investigation was conducted by the Houston district office of the Department's Wage and Hour Division.

"No employee should have to worry about their job when facing a serious health condition," regional DOL administrator Cynthia Watson stated in the release. "Coming back to work with the same seniority and benefits following an FMLA-related absence is not an option, it is the law. This employee's reinstatement and subsequent collection of back wages should send a clear message to other employers that compliance with the FMLA is critical."

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