US Dept of Labor Finds Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) Guilty of Violating FMLA

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After an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), the Transit Management of Charlotte Inc. – operating as Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) – has reinstated and paid one employee $21,998 in back wages for violating requirements of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Investigators determined the public transit operator wrongly assessed disciplinary “attendance points” against the employee for missed work time the employer should have recognized as FMLA-qualifying time off. CATS subsequently wrongfully terminated the employee for excessive absences once enough points had accumulated. To resolve the violation, the employer reinstated the worker, paid back wages for the time that the employee would have worked and restored the employee’s medical benefits.

“The Family and Medical Leave Act provides employees with critical workplace flexibility, protecting their jobs when they, or an eligible family member, need care for a serious health condition,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Richard Blaylock, in Raleigh, North Carolina. “The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to protecting employees’ FMLA rights, and to helping employers understand their responsibilities. We encourage all employers to reach out to us with questions, and to use the many resources we offer to avoid violations like those found in this case.”

The Department offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as online videos and confidential calls to local WHD offices.

For more information about the FMLA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at www.dol.gov/agencies/whd.

WHD’s mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation’s workforce. WHD enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act, and other statutes applicable to federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

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