Georgia parent fired for taking time off after child's birth awarded more than $67,000 in FMLA case
A parent in Georgia was wrongfully terminated from his job for taking time off from work to care for his newborn baby and spouse, federal officials say.
The firing of the employee violated the Family and Medical Leave Act, the U.S. Department of Labor said in a news release. As a result, the employer, U.S. Logistics Solutions Inc., has been ordered to pay the former employee over $67,000.
"Employers cannot deprive an employee eligible for Family and Medical Leave of their legal rights, and force them to make the hard choice between keeping their jobs and caring for themselves or their families," Wage and Hour Division District Director Steven Salazar said in a statement.
A federal investigation found U.S. Logistics Solutions Inc. withheld parental leave from a dock supervisor at a distribution center in Covington, Georgia, despite being aware of the birth of the employee's child.
The company then summoned the employee to a meeting 42 days after the child was born, to discuss "denial for care of his spouse and allege payroll theft."
At the meeting, the employee was terminated.
A week later, U.S. Logistics Solutions notified it canceled the employee's Family and Medical Leave Act request before the child was born, but had failed to inform the employee before terminating him, officials said.
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What did the company violate?
Officials said the company illegally terminated the employee for "exercising their rights" under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
What is the Family and Medical Leave Act?
The Family and Medical Leave Act, a federal law, allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of "unpaid, job-protected" family leave for "specified family and medical reasons."
Officials said the employee requested to use the act for parental bonding and to care for a spouse with a qualifying health condition, which meets the law's guidelines.
"Federal law prevents employers from retaliating against workers who choose to exercise their right to bond with a newborn child," Salazar said.
What will the employee get?
As a result of the investigation, officials ordered the company to pay the former employee $67,140 in:
Missed earnings after being terminated.
Front pay for one year.
Unpaid earned time off.
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Georgia parent fired for time off after child's birth gets back pay