The Orange County, Florida Tax Collector’s Office agreed to pay $100,000 today to settle a claim by our client, Millie Perez-Davis, that its managers failed to tell her that she could take medical leave when she became ill in the workplace. The settlement conference was presided over by United States Magistrate Judge Gregory Kelly in the Orlando Division.
Jim Garrity – an employee rights lawyer who’s achieved extreme results for employees in lawsuits against employers – negotiated the settlement for Ms. Perez-Davis.
The FMLA – the Family and Medical Leave Act – allows employees protected time off for medical reasons. But its technical provisions aren’t well-known. So the law specifically requires an employer to tell sick employees of their rights once the employer learns the employee has a covered illness. Here, Millie asked for permission to leave because she was becoming very ill. Instead of explaining her FMLA rights, her manager said that if she left, she could be disciplined. Millie walked out to her car, got in, and passed out before she could drive herself for care.
Many employees don’t know their rights under the FMLA. As a result, in situations like this one, employees might choose to skip critical medical care if they think they could be fired for leaving. That should never happen. When Congress passed the FMLA, it included a provision saying that an employer’s failure to tell sick employees of their rights under the FMLA are in effect interfering with the employee’s rights. This is what’s known as an “FMLA interference claim.”
Millie was thrilled at the outcome. She isn’t the only one to complain about her rights there, but she is the only one who came forward to take a stand and to send a powerful message.
Mission accomplished, Millie.
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