November 18, 2022

The Week in FFCRA Complaints

Before your holiday weekend, which we hope you spend safely, we have compiled a new list of the FFCRA complaints for the last week. Overall, we are beginning to see some patterns in the thematic nature of the complaints. Specifically, plaintiffs seem to be those whose employment has been terminated either after expressing concerns about workplace health and safety (e.g. improper distancing, lack of PPE, and not enforcing CDC-recommended quarantine procedures) and parents whose employment has been terminated because they were unable to locate appropriate childcare or family care, including the three cases we highlight below:

  • O’Bryan v. Joe Taylor Restoration, Inc. (S.D.F.L.) 6/23/20
  • Plaintiff sued his employer and three of his superiors under FFCRA and FMLA for denying him paid leave and terminating him. Plaintiff began exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms and was asked to stay home just before FFCRA went into effect, but was not paid under FFCRA for the duration of his leave after the law went into effect. When he attempted to return to work after a 14-day quarantine and clean bill of health from his doctor, his employer insisted that he needed a negative Covid-19 test before returning to the office. While his test results were still pending, he was terminated.
  • Mack v. Carousel Preschool, LLC (U.S. District Court of C.T.) 6/25/20
  • Plaintiff, a preschool teacher, sued her employer, a daycare, for denying her FFCRA leave and retaliating against her in violation of FFCRA. Plaintiff’s two minor children’s school closed due to the pandemic, but Plaintiff’s employer was designated an essential business. As a result, Plaintiff was asked to continue working 1-2 days per week and find alternative childcare with family members. When this childcare was no longer available, Plaintiff had no choice but to stop going to work. When she applied for unemployment, her employer told the state that Plaintiff had left voluntarily, resulting in the denial of unemployment benefits to the Plaintiff.
  • Kopesky v. Surface Technologies Corporation Et Al (S.D.C.A.) 6/25/20
  • Plaintiff, a heavy machine mechanic, sued his employer for disability discrimination, retaliation and harassment in violation of EPSLA, FFCRA, and California law and for wrongful termination in violation of public policy. Plaintiff is disabled, suffering from hypertension, diabetes and cardiac infirmities, and Defendant knew of his disabilities. Plaintiff’s employer was deemed an essential business and remained open during the shelter-in-place order. Despite multiple employees testing positive for Covid-19 and Plaintiff’s expressed alarm about inadequate social distancing and lack of PPE, Plaintiff’s manager allowed workers who tested positive to return to work without quarantining for a fourteen-day period.  Because of safety and wellbeing concerns, Plaintiff took a medical leave of absence. Defendant accused Plaintiff of quitting or abandoning his job and demanded Plaintiff to return to work. Plaintiff refused to return to work until his doctor clarified that doing so would be safe. After Plaintiff sent numerous, unanswered emails regarding return to work date, Plaintiff was terminated due to job abandonment.

The other two cases we found this week were Kofler v. Sayde Steeves Cleaning Service, Inc. (M.D.F.L.) 6/26/20 Nastri v. Ogs Technologies, Inc. (U.S. District Court of C.T.) 6/24/20.

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