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.
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"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."