DOL Recovers Back Wages For Florida Worker Who Was Improperly Denied Overtime And Was Wrongfully Terminated
On June 15th, 2022, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced enforcement action against ETS Willowbrook at Marion LLC (Willowbrook Assisted Living). The Columbia County assisted living facility will pay nearly $9,000 in back wages for unpaid overtime and wrongful termination. Beyond violating the overtime requirement of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the employer allegedly unlawfully fired a worker in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act. Below, you will find a more detailed explanation of the enforcement action taken by the DOL.
Employment Law Violation: Unpaid Overtime
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that provides overtime protection to workers in Florida. Under the FLSA, all non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay (1.5x their hourly wage) when they put in more than 40 hours in a week. Employers do not have the right to determine which workers get overtime pay and which workers are overtime exempt. Instead, the FLSA requires companies and organizations to pay the appropriate overtime based on an employee’s actual job role and job duties.
In this case, the DOL determined that Willowbrook Assisted Living improperly denied overtime pay to an employee. According to the press release from the agency, the employer simply “assumed” that the worker in question was an exempt employee under the FLSA. It paid straight-time wages even for hours worked in excess of 40. The employee has been awarded more than $7,000 in compensation for unpaid overtime in the form of back pay.
Employment Law Violation: Failure to Grant FMLA Leave (Wrongful Termination)
The DOL also determines that Willowbrook Assisted Living violated its duties under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). A federal statute, the FMLA also entitles workers to take unpaid, job-protected leave from their position to get a handle on a qualifying medical emergency or family emergency. The FMLA applies to all employers with 50 or more employees. For eligible workers, the FMLA allows them to take a maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave. At the end of their leave period, they should be reinstated at the same position or a substantially similar position.
The FMLA is a right for employees. An employee covered by the law has the right to take job-protected leave. In this case, the DOL contends that the Florida-based employer Willowbrook Assisted Living improperly denied the employee’s request for FMLA leave. According to the press release, the employee was denied medical leave and then was terminated for their position when they could no longer continue working. The DOL recovered $1,894 in back wages for the affected worker due to the wrongful termination under the FMLA.
Get Help From an Employee Rights Attorney in Florida
Employee rights matter. If you were denied overtime, discriminated against for exercising your right to take medical leave, wrongfully terminated, or subject to any other labor law violation, please do not hesitate to contact an experienced Florida employment lawyer for help with your case.