Employers in Florida are not required to pay employees who take time off under the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act. However, the landmark 1993 law prohibits taking retaliatory action against them. When workers can establish that negative employment actions were connected in any way to FMLA leave, they may pursue civil remedies. A recent case involving these issues was recently decided in Michigan. It resulted in a nurse who had taken FMLA leave being awarded $30,513 in liquidated damages, back wages, interest and retirement contributions.
An investigation conducted by the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division convinced a U.S. District Court judge that the nurse was expected to perform the duties of a full-time worker and was not even considered for a promotion that he was qualified for while he was on FMLA leave. The defendants in the case were the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital.
The judge determined that the defendants were guilty of both FMLA retaliation and interference. The damages awarded reflect the salary the nurse would have been paid had he been promoted to the position of Assistant Director of Nursing. Court papers reveal that the nurse took FMLA leave to care for seriously ill family members. The parties are due to appear in court again on June 18 to resolve some other issues, including any further pay that may be due and injunctive relief.
Workers who feel that they have been treated unfairly because they took FMLA leave or were discouraged from taking leave may seek legal assistance from a FMLA discrimination law firm. An attorney may seek to resolve such matters amicably, but they could also advocate on behalf of a client in court should these efforts prove unsuccessful.