The Department of Labor has secured $47,000 in back pay and compensation for two employees who were unjustly terminated by a healthcare company in Tennessee after they availed themselves of their legally protected leave rights.

Evmark Business Solutions

NASHVILLE, TN – The U.S. Department of Labor has successfully recovered $47,728 in back wages and liquidated damages for two former employees of two separate healthcare providers in Tennessee. These employers violated the rights of their employees under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

The Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor conducted investigations and found that Wellpath LLC, based in Nashville, illegally terminated a medical office assistant at the Mecklenburg County Jail in Charlotte, North Carolina, after the employee exercised their right to request and use FMLA-protected leave for a qualifying health condition. In a separate investigation, the agency found that Whites Creek Operating Group, operating as Whites Creek Wellness & Rehabilitation in Whites Creek, Tennessee, illegally terminated a housekeeper after the employee exercised their right to request and use FMLA-protected leave for a qualifying health condition.

The investigations revealed that both employers failed to inform their employees of their eligibility for FMLA leave within five business days of learning about their leave. They also failed to provide a written notice of rights and responsibilities to the employees at the appropriate time, and did not inform them if their leave would be designated as FMLA-qualifying. Additionally, the employers did not correctly classify the employees’ absences as FMLA-qualifying and did not include all required information about the FMLA in their company handbook.

Wage and Hour Division District Director Lisa Kelly in Nashville, Tennessee, stated, “The Family and Medical Leave Act makes it clear that employers cannot deny eligible employees their right to leave, forcing them to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for themselves or their families. The U.S. Department of Labor is dedicated to protecting employees’ rights under the FMLA. We encourage employers to review the various tools and resources we provide to help them understand their rights and responsibilities under this law.”

In the fiscal year 2023, the Wage and Hour Division concluded 334 FMLA compliance actions with violations and recovered over $987,000 in back wages. Wellpath LLC, headquartered in Nashville, is a medical and mental healthcare company with approximately 15,000 clinicians at 550 facilities in 36 U.S. states and Australia. Whites Creek Wellness & Rehabilitation is a nursing facility that provides rehabilitation, respite care, outpatient therapy, and long-term care to patients and employs approximately 120 workers at the facility.

To learn more about the FMLA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, including an FMLA Compliance Assistance Toolkit, or to contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Workers and employers can call the Wage and Hour Division confidentially with any questions.  

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