Following the investigation of a complaint against Neaton Rome Inc, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has forced the auto parts manufacturer to reinstate and pay an employee $13,133 in lost wages as the federal labor probe determined that Neaton terminated the employee in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act.

The investigation resulted in a finding that Neaton failed to provide the employee with required notification about whether her absence would qualify for leave after she requested time off for an FMLA-qualifying health condition and provided supporting documentation. The employee was wrongfully let go after the company assessed disciplinary attendance points for missed work.

Neaton Rome Inc. has been forced to reinstate the employee, pay her back wages, and restore her health benefits dating back to the day she was wrongfully terminated. Additionally, Neaton will grant 160 hours of vacation time that she would have earned on the date of her anniversary with the company, increase her pay reflecting a raise she would have received on the anniversary, and remove disciplinary attendance points they erroneously assessed due to her FMLA-covered absence from work.

“Many Americans rely on the Family and Medical Leave Act for critically needed workplace flexibility precisely when they need it the most,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Eric Williams, Atlanta, in a press release. “The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to ensuring that employees’ rights under the FMLA are protected. We encourage employers to review the numerous tools and resources we provide to help them understand their rights and obligations under this law.”

Phoenix Air gets federal air support deal

Cartersville-based Phoenix Air has been awarded a 10-year federal contract by the U.S. Department of State to provide air ambulance services and air passenger services for U.S. diplomatic missions around the world.

“It was great to learn that Phoenix Air was chosen for such an important mission,” said U.S. Representative Barry Loudermilk, R-Cartersville in a press release. “Phoenix Air is the gold standard when it comes to providing specialized aviation services, and has been a reliable source in responding to global events like the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, and successfully operated under U.S. government and NATO contracts since the late 1980s.”

“Ensuring the safety and security of Americans abroad is a top priority, and I am pleased and proud that Phoenix Air in Cartersville, Georgia, has earned a 10-year contract with the State Department to continue serving our officials abroad,” said U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson.

Master gardeners offering assistance

Floyd County Master Gardeners will offer a free community workshop on “Flower Arranging” Saturday, Sept. 28.

The workshop will begin at noon at Chieftains Museum on Riverside Parkway.

Master Gardener Nelly Luthi will help participants with all of the basics of flower arranging.

For additional n and to register, contact the Floyd County Extension Office at 706-295-6210. The Floyd County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers Facebook page also offers more information and tips for gardening in the Rome area.

Associate Editor and business columnist Doug Walker is always looking for news and tips about area businesses. To contact Doug, email him at or call 706-290-5272.

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