Consent Decree Offers Reinstatement to Terminated Worker

DOL's Wage and Hour Division investigated whether the delivery driver was wrongfully terminated under the terms of the Family and Medical Leave Act.

An Arizona delivery driver will be offered reinstatement and back wages thanks to a consent decree approved by a district court in Phoenix, based on the Family and Medical Leave Act. The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division investigated whether DS Waters of America Inc. failed to reinstate the employee at the end of his FMLA-approved leave.

The Atlanta, Ga. company, doing business as Sparkletts, purchased the company O Premium Waters prior to the employee's leave. The consent decree says Sparkletts is obligated to provide the employee with an equivalent position.

"Twenty years ago, the FMLA codified a simple and fundamental principle in this country: Workers should not have to choose between the job they need and the family members they love and who need their care," said Acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris, on the DOL website. "Employers must abide by this principle in both their policies and practices."

The law allows workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off to bond with a newborn, newly adopted, or newly placed child or care for a seriously ill child, spouse, or parent, without fear of losing their jobs.

"This case is a real victory for workers and families seeking justice against unlawful employment practices," added Mary Beth Maxwell, acting deputy administrator of the Wage and Hour Division. "An employee was suddenly left without a job, paycheck or medical benefits when the company changed hands. He and his family suffered emotional and financial stress at a time when they could least afford it."

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