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Report: Employees using courts to protect FMLA rights

Virtually everyone is agreed that red tape makes government bureaucracy a nightmare. So it is perhaps not surprising that workers are increasingly using the courts rather than the Labor Department when Family and Medical Leave Act rights have been violated.

Some employment law attorneys say the shift is, in part, because people are more aware today of their workplace rights under the FMLA and understand that they can take matters into their own hands instead of waiting in line at the federal agency.

“They don’t need to deal with the Labor Department,” an employment law attorney told Bloomberg BNA.

The news service says the shift away from filing administrative complaints at the Labor Department to filing lawsuits has emerged in government data. Last year, there were 1,181 claims filed in federal district courts alleging FMLA violations. That is up from 404 claims filed in 2012, according to data from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Bloomberg reports that the number of FMLA complaints filed at the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division dropped from 1,723 in 2012 to 1,419 last year.

The federal government itself was the plaintiff in only FMLA enforcement lawsuits between 2012 and 2015.

An employment lawyer said the statistics might indicate that the federal agency's focus has been on wage and hour issues rather than FMLA.

To fight for your rights under the FMLA, you can contact an experienced employment law attorney at the law offices of Alan C. Olson & Associates, s.c. in Milwaukee.

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