St Luke’s Systematically Violated Employee Leave Law

Apr 21, 2016

Credit Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

A U.S. Department of Labor investigation found that one of Idaho’s largest employers was systematically violating the Family and Medical Leave Act.

The Labor Department says St Luke’s Medical Center failed to ensure that employees received FMLA protections.

“Violations included failing to maintain employees’ benefits while they were absent from their jobs during protected leave, and failing to ensure that employees, upon returning to work, were reinstated to job positions equivalent to those they held before going out on FMLA leave ... The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.” – Department of Labor

The violations affected about 13,000 St Luke’s employees all over Idaho. The Labor Department notes that St Luke’s fully cooperated with the investigation and immediately remedied the violations.

St Luke’s spokesperson Beth Toal says the investigation stemmed from an employee complaint filed a year ago and that the Department of Labor went through hundreds of records dating from 2013 to 2015 and interviewed managers and employees.

“[St. Lukes’s Health System] agreed to be pro-active and provide training to its managers on FMLA rights…. It’s important to note that: SLHS has a strong policy protecting employees for the use of FMLA and that policy protects employees against retaliation for the exercise of their rights.  None of the procedures that the Department of Labor determined we should adjust had resulted in anyone losing their job.” –Beth Toal

Find Adam Cotterell on Twitter @cotterelladam

Copyright 2016 Boise State Public Radio