In 2010, a male employee of an office supply company went through the trial of his life—his wife was critically ill, and he had to inform his company that he needed to take care of her. The employee specifically worked for a subsidiary of a large chain, meeting the threshold of fifty or more employees for the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Though the company was obligated to provide FMLA, and the employee was eligible for it, the former failed to inform the latter of his rights. FMLA allows for an employee to care for a family member, in this case, his spouse, for serious health issues.
For the next two years, the employee continued to eat away at his sick and personal time off and vacation days. All the while, FMLA still was not extended to the employee. The employee even telecommunicated for periods of time so that he could continue working, but still take care of his ailing wife.
After the two years of struggling to balance work with his wife's condition, the company evaluated the employee's performance. They questioned his obligation to the company and determined he was not performing up to business standards. He was terminated shortly thereafter.
On the former employee's behalf, the federal Department of Labor investigated the terminated and subsequently filed a lawsuit in 2013. After another two years of litigation, the company settled with the Labor Department, recovering a $250,000 settlement.
Source: HR Watch Dog CalChamber