South Carolina

SC company denies sick leave, then fires employee. Now it must pay, officials say

A South Carolina company was punished for firing a sick employee, the US Department of Labor said.
A South Carolina company was punished for firing a sick employee, the US Department of Labor said. Getty Images

A South Carolina company was punished for firing a sick employee, and had to pay him tens of thousands of dollars, the United States government said.

An employee of Alupress LLC was unlawfully terminated by the Laurens manufacturing company, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday in a news release.

The man was fired after he was denied sick leave for an illness that is recognized by the Family and Medical Leave Act, according to the news release.

Because of the violation, Alupress was forced to pay the former employee $34,538, the government said.

That total matches the amount the man lost in “wages, medical bills, and health insurance premiums incurred as a result of his unlawful termination,” according to the news release.

Without identifying the illness, the Department of Labor said the company denied the man something he was eligible to receive and disregarded federal requirements. Additionally, the company did not tell the man about consequences he could face, and did not have any of the documentation required by law, according to the news release.

“Many Americans rely on the Family and Medical Leave Act for critically needed workplace flexibility precisely when they need it the most,” Wage and Hour Division District Director Jamie Benefiel said in a news release from her Columbia office. “The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to enforcing the law and educating employers to ensure employees are not prevented from exercising their FMLA rights.”

Kim Swanson, whose family was not covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, returned to work after only five weeks with her newborn daughter, Marley.

Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.
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