A DNA Diagnostics center has reached a settlement agreement in a wrongful termination suit filed last year.
Our Costa Mesa wrongful termination lawyers know that employers are sometimes willing to settle a case to avoid a long drawn out trial but it will really depend on the employer and the facts of the specific case.
The Diagnostics center agreed to pay $25,000 in liquidated damages and lost wages when it unlawfully denied an employee leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
The case proves to be a win for those who support employee rights in the United States. In this case, the Labor Department stepped in and sued the company when an employee was denied leave to take care of his sick niece.
The employee had no choice but to take temporary leave without approval to care for her sick relative and was fired by her employer when she did not return to work for over a week.
The Department of Labor claimed that the employer had acted illegally when it denied the initial request for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
The Family Medical Leave Act allows eligible employees to take a total of 12 work weeks worth of unpaid, but job-protected leave within a 12-month period.
The acceptable reasons for this type of leave include taking care of a adopted, biological, foster, or step child but according to the Labor Department it also includes situations where an individual is acting in place of the parent – as was the case here.
In this case, the employee desired to take leave from work so she could care for her niece’s obstructive sleep apnea and asthma. Prior to requesting the leave, the worker had taken on the day-to-day care and financial support of her niece, who is a minor.
The company did not approve the requested leave and instead sent a termination letter about 12 days after the last time the worker had been in contact with her employer.
The letter stated, in part, because your absence has not been approved and we have not been in contact, we have determined you have abandoned your job.
Department of Labor officials stated that their investigation found that the Diagnostics center had fired the employee for attempting to exercise her rights under the Family Medical Leave Act.
Officials claim that the settlement of the case is really a victory for all working guardians and parents in America. Any employee who is tasked with the day-to-day responsibility of child care should be allowed to take advantage of the Family Medical Leave Act – even if there is no strict biological or legal relationship.
The facts of each case are different and in order to determine whether your employer has wrongfully denied your request for Family Medical Leave Act leave it is recommended that you contact an attorney.
Costa Mesa employment lawsuits can be filed with assistance from the Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange County. Call 949.375.4734.
Fed suie Fairfield company for wrongful termination of employee, Dec 3rd 2013, Journal-News.
More Blog Entries:
California Worker Wins Wrongful Termination Lawsuit, January 1, 2014, Los Angeles Employment Lawyer Blog
LGBT Workplace Discrimination Statistics, December 30, 2013, Los Angeles Employment Lawyer Blog