The U.S. Department of Labor is recovering $200,000 for an employee who was unlawfully terminated by the Georgia County Health Department for exercising his right to protected leave

Cobb & Douglas Public Health failed to inform the employee of Family and Medical Leave Act eligibility

ATLANTA – The US Department of Labor has recovered $200,000 for a former Cobb & Douglas public health employee after the county agency violated the employee's right to protected leave under federal law Family and Medical Leave Act.

Investigators with the department Wage and hour division found that Cobb & Douglas Public Health unlawfully discharged a pharmacy employee after the employee—who experienced a two-day hospitalization and then required subsequent care due to a worsening condition—attempted to exercise his or her right to FMLA-protected leave to apply for and use a qualified health condition.

Department investigators concluded that the employer had failed to:

  • Within five business days of learning that their leave may qualify for FMLA, inform the employee that they may have been eligible for FMLA leave.
  • Provide the employee with a written notice of rights and responsibilities at the required time or within five business days of becoming aware of the leave.
  • Allow the employee to exercise their rights under the FMLA and instead terminate the employee one day after requesting the FMLA paperwork.
  • Reinstate the employee in the same or equivalent position and unlawfully dismiss him instead.

“Employers cannot deny an employee who is entitled to family and medical leave their legal rights, leaving them with the difficult decision to keep their job and provide for themselves or their families,” said Steven Salazar, district director of the Wage and Hour Department in Atlanta. “The Family and Medical Leave Act allows employees to take appropriate unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons to ensure job security and health benefits during those periods.”

In fiscal year 2023, the Wage and Hour Department 334 FMLA compliance actions for violations were completed and more than $987,000 in back wages were recovered for 395 workers.

Find out more about the FMLA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, including one FMLA Compliance Support Toolkitor call the department's toll-free hotline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).

Employees and employers can confidentially call the Wage and Hour Department with questions regardless of where they are from, and the department can speak to callers in more than 200 languages. Learn more about the Wage and Hour Departmentincluding one Search tool You can use this if you believe you may be owed wages collected by the department.