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Required Notices Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Jan 16, 2023

Publix pays $17k to settle back wages for FMLA notice violation

Want to give your employees an extra $17,000 this year for not giving proper notices about time off from work? If not, keep reading.

Publix Super Markets paid more than $17,000 to an employee it allegedly fired for taking leave protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act. According to the DOL, Publix failed to provide an employee with required information under the FMLA, including: 1) a document notifying the employee they are eligible for FMLA leave; 2) notice of the worker’s rights and responsibilities; and 3) a designation notice, informing the worker his/her requested leave would be designated as FMLA leave.

Here are the steps the employer should have taken:

  1. Employer Coverage: First, employers must determine whether they are covered by the FMLA (50 employees).
  2. Notice of Rights and Responsibilities: If the employer is covered, they must provide notice to the employee of their rights and responsibilities.
  3. Poster: Employers must also display or post an informative general notice about the statute. The poster must be displayed in plain view, where all employees and applicants can readily see it, and it must have large enough text so it can be easily read.
  4. Eligibility Notice and Certification: After the employer determines whether or not the employee is eligible for FMLA leave, it must provide the employee with an Eligibility Notice within five business days of the employee’s initial request or when the employer learns the leave may be for a qualifying reason. The notice informs the employee whether or not they’re eligible for FMLA leave. An employee is eligible if he/she has worked at least one year over the course of 7 years AND at least at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months immediately preceding the leave. Certification must be returned within 15 days. If the employer determines the employee is not eligible, it must state at least one reason why.
  5. Designation Notice: If the leave is FMLA-qualifying, it must also give the employee a Designation Notice, which informs the employee that the requested leave will be designated as FMLA leave and sets out the requirements applicable while the employee is on leave.

The FMLA protects eligible workers from an employer’s interference, restraint or retaliation when they take qualifying leave and employees who experience violations may be entitled to reinstatement, payment of back wages or other make-whole relief for medical expenses. It’s important for your management team to know how to identify FMLA requests, so the manager can direct the employee to the proper person in HR or the CEO. 

Interested in training for your HR department or person who handles employee issues. Check out my free legal workshop: 10 Mistakes companies make under the FMLA Here. You can also enroll in my signature course (Here), where we take a deep dive into the most important areas of the FMLA.

Contact Karly Wannos at The Wannos Law Firm, PA Here.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for educational purposes only. The information does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an attorney client relationship with Karly Wannos, The Wannos Law Firm, P.A. or any other attorney employed by the firm. Karly Wannos is licensed to practice law in Florida only, and the information presented on this channel applies to Florida and Federal law only and is not otherwise state specific. Please consult with an attorney before making any important business related decisions. The contents of this post are owned by Karly Wannos, and cannot be duplicated or replicated without her express written permission. May be deemed an attorney advertisement.

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